Organizations Deplore Temporary Restraining Order Stopping Relief for Black, Indigenous and People of Color Farmers and Ranchers

The Alliance is proud to join organizations across the country in condemning the lawsuits to stop US Department of Agriculture from providing debt relief to Black, Hispanic, Indigenous, Asian and Pacific Island family farmers. We urge USDA to continue it’s vigorous defense of this critical debt relief and address the agency’s decades of intentional, systemic discrimination based on race and ethnicity.


We, the undersigned, are organizations whose service constituency is composed of Black, Hispanic, Indigenous, and Asian, and Pacific Islander family farmers. With our allied farm and environmental organizational signatories, we jointly deplore the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from implementing Section 1005 of the American Rescue Plan Act, to assist BIPOC farmers in paying off their Farm Service Agency direct or guaranteed loans.

The underlying case, and related cases, reflect a flagrant attempt to overturn an act of Congress and the over 30 years of history of a definition that acknowledges and enables USDA to meet the urgent and particular needs of socially disadvantaged producers. During this pandemic, our producers have been unable to access the level of support and service provided to other groups of farmers and ranchers and will be further harmed by this relief being delayed.

 We see these lawsuits as undemocratic actions designed only to frustrate and defeat the justice long denied to BIPOC farmers and ranchers and their communities. Many of the undersigned have worked for decades to assist tens of thousands of producers who have endured decades of disparate and discriminatory treatment by the USDA with huge barriers to relief–situations that continue today. This includes establishing a definition and provisions providing targeted USDA program resources in credit, conservation, marketing, cooperative development and other services for these socially disadvantaged farmer applicants–all which have been included, without legal challenge, in Farm Bills over the past 30 plus years.

 Congress took into account this sad and sordid history when it consciously added Sections 1005 and 1006 of the American Rescue Plan. These sections targeted assistance to help BIPOC farmers to recover from more than a year of calamitous and disruptive conditions in producing and marketing of agricultural products.

 No serious observer of USDA’s role in American agriculture can doubt that the Department has engaged in decades of intentional, and systematic, discrimination based on race and ethnicity. The results have been catastrophic and have completely reshaped farming by eliminating a wide swath of farmers. If ever there was a constitutional basis for taking race into account when making policy this is it.  In its decision the Court appears oblivious to this history, and hostile to efforts to achieve true racial justice.

 We urge and support USDA to continue its vigorous defense of this critical relief and to assure the TRO does not prevent USDA from continuing to implement the eligibility and application process for this loan payment assistance, pending a favorable decision against a permanent injunction on this critically needed assistance for BIPOC farmers.

 Our organizations further pledge to work to assure the intent of Congress is fulfilled and the rights of our producers are not extinguished.

 We urge all other farmers and people of good will to educate themselves about this basic, fundamental, and continuing struggle for justice and equity by BIPOC farmers and their communities.

  • Intertribal Agriculture Council
  • Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund
  • National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association
  • North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers Land Loss Prevention Project
  • Rural Coalition
  • Rural Advancement Fund of the National Sharecroppers Fund
  • A Well-Fed World
  • African Alliance of Rhode Island
  • Agricultural Institute of Marin
  • Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
  • American Indian Mothers, Inc.
  • American Sustainable Business Council
  • Angelic Organics Learning Center
  • Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation
  • Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake Counties Farmers Union (Ohio)
  • Beyond Pesticides
  • Black Family Land Trust
  • Border Agricultural Workers Project
  • Boston Food Forest Coalition
  • California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN)
  • California Farmer Justice Collaborative
  • California FarmLink
  • California Institute for Rural Studies
  • Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment
  • Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
  • Catskill Mountainkeeper
  • Center for an Agricultural Economy
  • Center for Food Safety
  • Certified Naturally Grown
  • Chicago Food Policy Action Council
  • Community Alliance with Family Farmers
  • Community Food and Justice Coalition
  • Compañeras Campesinas
  • Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
  • Cottage House, Inc.
  • DAJ Associates LLC
  • Dakota Rural Action
  • Earth Action, Inc.
  • Earthjustice
  • Equity Trust, Inc.
  • Fair Farms
  • Family Farm Action Alliance
  • Family Farm Defenders
  • Farm Aid
  • Farm Fresh Rhode Island
  • Farm to Institution New England
  • Farms to Grow, Inc.
  • Farmworker Association of Florida
  • Food & Water Watch
  • Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT)
  • Food First
  • Food Solutions New England
  • Friends of Family Farmers
  • Friends of the Earth
  • FrontLine Farming 
  • GoFarm
  • Hartford Food System, Inc
  • Hazon
  • HEAL (Health, Environment, Agriculture, Labor) Food Alliance
  • Health Care Without Harm
  • Hempstead Project Heart
  • Idaho Organization of Resource Councils
  • Illinois Stewardship Alliance
  • Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
  • International Center for Technology Assessment 
  • Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
  • Just Food and Water
  • Kansas Black Farmers Association
  • Kansas Rural Center
  • La Mujer Obrera
  • Land Based Jawns
  • Land Stewardship Project
  • Latino Farmers of the Southeast
  • Maine Farmland Trust
  • Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
  • Mandela Partners
  • Massachusetts Food System Collaborative
  • Menikanaehkem Inc.
  • Michigan Food and Farming Systems
  • MOSES—Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service
  • National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • National Black Food and Justice Alliance/National Black Land and Power Coalition
  • National Co+op Grocers
  • National Family Farm Coalition
  • National Farm to School Network 
  • National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • National Young Farmers Coalition
  • Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society
  • Neighboring Food Co-op Association
  • NOFA-VT
  • North Carolina Farmworkers’ Project
  • Northeast Organic Association Massachusetts Chapter
  • Northeast Organic Farm Association-Interstate Council
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association – Massachusetts Chapter
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY)
  • Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
  • Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides
  • Nourish Colorado
  • Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
  • Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project
  • On Higher Ground
  • Operation Spring Plant
  • Oregon Climate and Agriculture Network
  • Oregon State University Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems
  • Organic Farmers Association
  • Organic Seed Alliance
  • Organización en California de Líderes Campesinas, Inc
  • Orikaika Ventures
  • Pasa Sustainable Agriculture
  • PCC Community Markets
  • People unlimited and Southwest Food Coalition
  • Pinelands Preservation Alliance
  • Pinnacle Prevention
  • Public Advocacy for Kids (PAK)
  • Rural Development Leadership Network
  • Rural Organizing
  • Socially Responsible Agriculture Project
  • South New England Farmers of Color Collaborative (SNEFCC)
  • Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network
  • Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education, Inc.
  • Sustainable Business Network of MA
  • Sustainable Food Center
  • Terrell Ranch-African American Owned
  • Texas Coalition of Rural Landowners
  • The Common Market
  • The Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive
  • The John Merck Fund
  • The Natural Farmer, NOFA
  • They Keep Bees 
  • Tilth Alliance 
  • Toxic Free North Carolina
  • Union of Concerned Scientists
  • UpRoot Colorado
  • Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund
  • Western Colorado Alliance
  • Western Organization of Resource Councils
  • World Farmers

For further information, contact: Intertribal Agriculture Council, Colby Duren,  colby@indianag.org (406) 259-3525, Rural Coalition, John Zippert, jzippert@aol.com or Lorette Picciano, lpicciano@ruralco.org (202-628-7161) or North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers Land Loss Prevention Project, savi@landloss.org (919) 682-5969