Rep. Tiffany calls to ‘end discrimination’ in USDA farmer aid

Tiffany, Owens Announce Bill to Ensure Equal Protection in Agriculture Department Programs, Activities “ACRE Act” would bar USDA, agencies from discriminating, giving preferences based on race, sex
Cows graze in pasture as farmer looks on
Cows graze in pasture as farmer looks on(WZAW)
Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 11:59 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON, (WSAW) - Republican Rep. Tom Tiffany and Utah Republican Rep. Burgess Owens will introduce the Agriculture Civil Rights and Equality Act (ACRE Act), which would prohibit officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture from discriminating or providing preferential treatment to any person on the basis of race, color, national origin or sex.

“To extend assistance to some farmers but not others based on race undermines the constitution’s guarantee of equal protection for all Americans,” Tiffany said. “If we are serious about ending discrimination in the agriculture sector, the first step is for the government to stop doing the discriminating.”

The Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act, introduced by Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, provides $4 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to forgive direct or guaranteed loans given to farmers of color. Another $1 billion will go to the USDA for farmer grants, college scholarships and other efforts for minority growers.

Tiffany and Owens’ proposal would apply to USDA hiring, contracting, and programming, including programs administered by states, territories and universities using USDA funds.

The legislation will be formally introduced Thursday.

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