DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Associations, representing 20,000 members filed a federal lawsuit against the US Department of Agriculture for the process they are using to compensate $50,000 to farmers under the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.
President Thomas Burrell claimed the 40-page application process is confusing and discriminating against tens of thousands of African Americans eligible for federal relief and their right to inherit property from their loved ones who have died.
He says it has been a right in the African-American community since the Civil Rights Act of 1866.
“USDA should not be allowed to dismantle or deprive citizens of this right to inherit most of the majority of people showing up at our meeting are filing a claim for their deceased loved ones,” says Burrell.
This comes after Congress set aside 2.2 billion dollars for farmers who were discriminated against by the USDA in the farm loan process and just last year the Inflation Reduction Act was passed.
The act recognizes the USDA’s discriminatory practices and the disadvantages the discrimination has placed on Black farmers decades over one hundred years ago but the money doesnt cover those who are left behind.
Burrell says while he agrees with the concept, however, the new current system is still unfair for future generations.
Those who have acquired that land, the descendants of those who are now deceased the children should be able to enjoy the benefit of that property that’s what we call generational wealth this 40-page process we are arguing is unconstitutional.
The association met with about 100 farmers from the Dothan community to share valuable information about how they can cash in on the money set aside and got them to sign questionnaires that will be entered into the courts to show the federal judge they have members who believe they should be entitled to their loved one’s benefits.
“Whether you agree with the lawsuit or not, whether you agree whether these individuals or citizens in this country, White, Black, brown, or otherwise should agree you would not compensate an heir or a child for wrong that was perpetrated against a parent or grandparent,” says Burrell.