Texas Farmers Act Against USDA Over Race-Based Aid Program

A coalition of White farmers in Texas recently asked a federal judge to bar the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from providing disaster and pandemic relief based on race, gender and other attributes.

Just the News reported that the group of farmers is represented by the nonprofit Southeastern Legal Foundation, which submitted the filing in the U.S. District Court in Amarillo, Texas.

In their motion, the coalition pointed out that natural disasters occur without paying attention to race or gender and the USDA should act the same. The group said the federal agency should be prohibited from using such physical characteristics when administering aid.

The farmers argued that “USDA lacks statutory authority to run the programs in their current form” and that the agency “failed to adequately explain changes in calculating payments when implementing progressive factoring.”

In its filing, the coalition noted that the Biden administration has already taken in approximately $25 billion in disaster relief and pandemic aid, dividing it among eight programs to distribute the funds to groups labeled as “socially disadvantaged.” Their complaint argues that these actions violate the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedures Act.

While pointing out that the Constitution promises equal treatment to all Americans regardless of race or gender, the group said, “It also promises the separation of powers. USDA broke both promises through the disaster and pandemic relief programs challenged here.”

The group continued by arguing that it could prove that the “USDA gives more money to some farmers based” on their physical attributes.

“USDA does this by first defining farmers who are black/African-American, American Indian, Alaskan native, Hispanic, Asian-American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, or a woman as ‘socially disadvantaged,” the court filing states.

The farmers’ lawsuit cites the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions in 2023 overturning affirmative action and other race-based measures in higher education. The coalition quoted the majority opinion in the case, which said that “eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.”

In their lawsuit, the USDA and its secretary, Tom Vilsack, are named as defendants. The farmers are seeking legal action against the agency over an aid program that was established by an executive order signed by President Joe Biden.