Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station

Judge halts COVID-19 payments to ranchers, farmers of color

MILWAUKEE, WI – A federal judge in Wisconsin ordered a temporary stop to the $4 billion federal loan relief program for ranchers and farmers of color after a group of white farmers (at least one from South Dakota) and a white rancher in Wyoming, filed  legal challenges crying discrimination.

Judge William Griesbach issued a temporary restraining order June 10 blocking the U.S. Department of Agriculture from moving forward with the relief payments.

The program would pay up to 120% of direct or guaranteed ag loan balances for American Indian, Hispanic, Asian American, Pacific Islander and Black ranchers and farmers. The program was part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan.

The program is also being fought by several large banking groups who complain that by giving the money to minority and Black ranchers and farmers and allowing them to pay down their debts early, the banks are losing out on interest income they were expecting to receive.

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