How Has the USDA’s Discrimination Affected Minorities?

By Osborne & Francis
July 18, 2024

Minority farmers have sustained significant financial and emotional losses due to the unequal distribution of loans that are critical to the continued success of many family farms. Over time, the USDA’s discriminatory practices have catastrophically altered the lives of minority farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners. The federal government is offering borrowers compensation for their damages through a Discrimination Financial Assistance program overseen by the USDA.

The civil rights attorneys of Osborne & Francis have been leading the charge to ensure that hardworking families are fairly compensated for the discrimination they have endured while seeking out an FSA loan. Our team can be reached at (561) 678-0156 or contacted through our offices in Boca Raton or Orlando. We can provide the resources, experience, and subject matter expertise you need to maximize your compensation in a farming discrimination lawsuit.

Discrimination Has Prevented Accumulation of Generational Wealth

From an economic standpoint, the distribution of loans has been catastrophic for minority farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners. Traditionally, a rancher would likely hope to be able to pass on a successful business to their children, who would then go on to maintain and even expand the operation. However, when a Black rancher is unfairly denied a loan to help pay for feed for their cattle, they may be forced to sell off land and livestock, take out private loans, and eventually leave their operation in a worse financial position. 

As a result, their children will have to work to recover the ground that their parents lost, rather than starting off from a position of stability. Over time, this compromises a family’s ability to accumulate wealth and pass it on to the next generation. In turn, that may mean a lower standard of living, fewer educational opportunities, and less access to resources like healthcare for future generations.

Loss of Land Has Shrunk Minority Farmers’ Assets and Influence

A new study using the U.S. Census data and information from the Department of Agriculture has determined that Black farmers lost an estimated 326 billion dollars worth of land between 1920 and 1997. In terms of acreage, Black farmers went from having 16 million acres of farmland in 1910 to losing about 75% of that by 2017, which is largely attributed to the unfair treatment during the USDA lending process. Black-owned farmland represents just 0.5% of all farmland in the U.S. 

Land is also often understood as a form of political currency, meaning that any potential for political influence amongst minority farmers has dwindled over generations. In effect, it has been an uphill battle for them to hold government agencies, like the USDA, accountable for their discriminatory treatment of minority groups.

Minority Farming Families Lost Their Legacy Due to Discrimination

Time magazine reports that 4 million family farms were lost between 1948 and 2015, with 100,000 of those disappearing between 2011 and 2018. The number of minority-owned and operated farms is also declining at an alarming rate. For many families who farm or operate a ranch, it is more than a source of income. In many cases, minority families began farming out of necessity, particularly in times when educational opportunities were limited by racist institutions. 

It became an identity and a source of pride for many, meaning that when a loan officer demands excessive collateral to offer a loan or holds a loan hostage until it is too late, the loss of the family farm is demoralizing. In these situations, a family may have no choice but to sell their farm to developers or an industrial farming operation, leaving farming families without land, income, or a tradition to pass on. 

Why Should I Choose Osborne & Francis to Represent Me?

By having Osborne & Francis represent you, you will receive the unique benefits of attorney Greg Francis’ experience as lead counsel for Black farmers who had been discriminated against by the USDA. He secured a 1.25 billion dollar settlement for Black farmers, which is the largest civil rights settlement in U.S. history. In addition to his background, our firm as a whole has spent nearly a decade seeking justice for injured clients.   

We are trusted by clients to advocate for their best interest, which for us means committing ourselves to securing a settlement that reflects the magnitude of their damages. Our team has a reputation for garnering maximum compensation by pursuing an aggressive negotiating strategy, diligently investigating claims, and using our experience to your advantage. The civil rights lawyers of Osborne & Francis are dedicated to holding the USDA and other lending institutions accountable for their unfair treatment towards minority borrowers seeking loans.

Contact Our Team at Osborne & Francis to File a Farming Discrimination Claim Against the USDA

For years, loan officers have damaged the financial future and legacies of minority farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners by discriminating against them on the basis of their race, their gender, or other factors during the borrowing process. The impact of this has dramatically reshaped not only the trajectory of individual farming families, but the landscape of the U.S.’s agricultural industry as a whole. 

The personal injury lawyers of Osborne & Francis believe that farming and ranching families deserve financial relief for the damages they have sustained at the hands of the USDA. At Osborne & Francis, our team has trial experience that has proven to be an asset in negotiations. Our team of formidable personal injury lawyers will remain committed to providing your claim the attention it deserves as we pursue maximum compensation on your behalf through the provision afforded under the Inflation Reduction Act.

We understand that navigating this process can seem overwhelming, but we want to reassure you that our team of experienced civil rights attorneys will be by your side every step of the way. You can reach us at (561) 678-0156 or contact our offices in Boca Raton or Orlando. We look forward to hearing your story and helping you recover the compensation you deserve in a farming discrimination lawsuit.

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