How Black farmers experience economic discrimination at the hands of the USDA

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Willie Earl Nelson Sr. (center) and his sons Courtney, Willie Jr., Adrain, and Shaun are farmers in Sondheimer, Louisiana. Mr. Nelson and his son Adrain describe the discrimination and red tape many Black farmers face when obtaining loans for land. Photo by Alison Gootee.

Generations of Black farmers have fallen victim to discriminatory practices employed against them by the US Department of Agriculture and the Farm Service Administration. Recently, a judge halted a Biden administration forgiveness program for Black farmers that included debt relief. Natalie Baszile describes the vicious cycle of loans denied and delayed that lead to land seizure. Third generation farmer Willie Earl Nelson and his son Adrain share how strategies are deployed by government institutions and financial institutions to seize farms, such as forcing Black farmers to borrow more money than requested and buying land from beneath them as they await loan processing.

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Evan Kleiman