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Choosers of the Slain: Criminal conflicts of Interest in farm loan industry

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Writing to the organizers of a land rights protest in Kentucky, Gary Grant, a  North Carolina black farm activist said:

I wish I could be with you, but I am having my own battle here in North Carolina as the Dept. of Justice has or rather is in the process acting on a "Writ of Execution" a Writ on a "Consent Judgment" signed by my father Matthew Grant back in 1981. While, the family has proven time and time again the discriminatory practices and the racism Black farmers faced here in Halifax County, NC, it seems that there is no end to the injustices.

Grant and many others in the land rights movement want to dispel the idea that “farmers (specifically black farmers) are asking for a handout”.  Speaking of urban blacks, who don’t understand the gravity of the issue, Grant says,

African Americans need to understand that the farmer and landowner are not asking for charity. They are simply demanding what it is that they have worked for. We must find an avenue to get this message out to the masses so that they will understand that a "Landless People Is A Helpless People.

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And, this is where the problem lies,  for when it comes to farm loan atrocities, the  white farmer says, “me, too.” This is a nasty case of worms, involving land rights, land theft, racism, document deception, illegal seizures, bogus foreclosure, perjury and illegal auctions. Racism, anti-family farm bias and federal farm policy are so intertwined that separating the issue would be like separating conjoined twins who have 3 heads, one body and a herd mad scientists sharpening their scalpels, ready to slice and dice.

It’s all one ugly monster and it is costing both taxpayers and farmers billions of dollars in both lost revenue and lost assets.  There is so much, often un-audited, money flowing through the Farm Service Agency farm loan offices that many of the offices have become havens for thieves and embezzlers—not to mention the not so closeted racists who get to ply their bigotry and get paid for doing so.

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Beginning with Depression-era federal legislation, the nation’s farm policy tilted in favor of large, corporate farms, which were allegedly more efficient than family farmers.  Not only that, the bureaucracy would rather deal with a few mega-farmers than thousands of small operators.

Many family farmers say it was then that the bureaucracy evolved from mere farm loan entity to the “Choosers of the Slain”, where, in a series of Valkyrie-like judgments, farm loan officers with conflicts of interest, chose which farmers would survive, and which would not. Through a long-standing policy of “fittest of the fit”, the small farmers were judged unfit because of their small scale, and this has created a hostile atmosphere for family farmers, black and white.  To add a little bit of spice to this nasty recipe of fraud, deceit and deception, the locally operated farm loan agencies have become a veritable nest of feuding, forgery and land theft, victimizing both blacks and whites, pitting one against the other in a multi-billion dollar nest of corruption which ultimately comes out of the taxpayers’ pockets.

Anecdotal evidence from dozens of states around the nation has turned up cases of alleged collusion between various local, federal and financial institutions, real estate brokers and auction houses.  In one Texas case, a black rancher was allegedly told there was nothing he could do that would stop his land from being taken—and this less than a month after he signed the papers for the property.   Eventually his land was sold.

In Kansas, the bureaucrats are playing games with social security numbers and loan documents, switching loan recipients back and forth on paper to build a fraudulent case of loan delinquency.  One loan applicant’s file is full of forged documents, incorrect information and what he calls “outright lies”, and yet, he still lost his land.

In Indiana, a federal farm loan officer cut the signature of one of the co-applicants off the loan document “because he didn’t want her on the loan.”  Another farmer in Arkansas is still scratching his head over how local authorities continue to squirrel away parcels of land that he owns under a dead man’s probate.  The man has been dead for more than 70 years, but somehow manages to buy property.  Now, that’s quite a talent. 

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It seems the county land and deed recorders are talented too. In one county, they are allegedly so talented that they maintain two sets of land transfer books—one for public consumption, and another for insiders.  The latter never leaves the possession of the county recorder—and it is alleged that she even takes the files home at night.

Although there is a massive problem with the federal farm loan and agriculture policy as it is currently practiced, the system reserves a special bureaucratic beating for black farmers, particularly in the South, which has a long history of lynching, murder and land terrorism.

Even today, blacks are often intimidated not to speak out when their land is stolen.  Corruption in local banks, federal farm loan offices, real estate brokerages and county deed recorders’ offices make it extremely difficult for many African-Americans to challenge the land theft conspiracy which has stolen billions of dollars of black land from their rightful owners.

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Wanna be member of the anti-word police, author, columnist, activist and muckraker extraordinaire. Author of:

Land, Legacy and Lynching: Building the Future for Black America

Urban Asylum: Politics, Lunatics and the Refrigerator (more...)
 

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