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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/16/21

Dear White People, Part Two

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Here on these pages several weeks back, I wrote a long, perhaps too long, post about the plight of black farmers from 1910 to now. I wrote extensively about land acquisition and dispossession. Situating black farm income in the Trump era is a travesty when white farmers made off like a bandit with subsidies and relief from the former president's war with China. You're welcome to go here for more information. I hope you do. That would mean a lot.

Why is that important? Good question you ask.

I jotted that little paragraph down with the link for more information because there is a new set of litigants in town. Sid Miller, Ag Commissioner of the State of Texas, and five other white farmers from Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Ohio have filed two lawsuits against the USDA, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, and FSA Director Zach Ducheneaux. You can find all of the details about the suit by Miller here and the lawsuit out of Eastern District of Wisconsin here.

Their are claiming that many groups suffer from discrimination, and they produce lists. They also allege that they are being discriminated against because they are not recipients of the $4B and $1B for debt relief afforded to "Socially Disadvantaged Farmers," which they consider to be an injustice. They fuss with the legal definition and applications of SDF, or category 2501 with its definitions.

So, I did a brief dance through the database for farmers thanks to the Environmental Working Group. Anyone can access that data here. The database is rich. You can research by state, type of subsidy, county, and even those who receive subsidies. Those who received Market Facilitation Program funds, allocated to farmers after the debacle of the trade war with China, and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program funds, funds allocated to farmers in view of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sid Miller and his fellow litigants benefitted enormously from subsidies, MFP, and CFAP, to the tune of over 1/2 million dollars for the time period 1995-2020. Also, the counties within which these farmers and ranchers locate their farms and ranches benefitted enormously. Those eleven counties received Over $1B in subsidies, over $41M in MFP, and almost $30M in CFAP. The total? Glad you asked. Here is a staggering number: $1,200,062,666 in total funds to those counties.

If black farmers are a miniscule percentage of farmers in America, and if those black farmers benefit in very, very small ways from subsidies, MFP, and CFAP, then it seems to me that these eleven white litigants do not have a leg to stand on.

Perhaps they do not stand to get rich, although Mr. Miller here in Texas appears to be doing quite well, the system is doing what the system is designed to do, benefit farmers who are white, and they are white. They are not in the group defined as "Socially Disadvantaged Farmers." Only "minorities" or "people of color" go there. That was decided a long time ago.

They are wasting resources in filing these suits. Already there has been pushback from black farmer groups. I support those pushing back.

So far, the powers that be in Washington with the USDA and FSA are saying that these cases have not impeded their progress toward debt forgiveness for those who deserve it, those who have historically discriminated against, those who have lost their land livelihood, families, and health, and who are in debt to the USDA as a result of discrimination and interest piled upon interest piled upon interest.

No, the white farmers are wasting their time and energies, and just stirring up things.

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Waymon Hinson holds the Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi and is licensed as a psychologist and marriage and family therapist. His work history includes 26 years with three universities including Abilene Christian University and 8 years with (more...)
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