Sean Hannity’s show on Monday had an exclusive with reporter Sara Carter who interviewed farmers that are angry and frustrated at President Biden over the COVID-19 relief package that awards billions in debt relief to farmers of color.
The farmers called the package “divisive.” Biden signed the $1.9 trillion bill last week. The debt relief for farmers is premised on race-based criteria which makes no sense to these farmers.
“I’m sorry, but I was raised to not see color and not to see race, but to see the character and the person’s heart,” Tennesse farmer Kelly Griggs said to Sara Carter. “That’s how I was raised, that’s how the farming community sees each other.”
“The government has basically said ‘OK, this is what we are doing, whether you like it or not,'” she angrily pointed out. “Because farmers throughout the years, that’s what we’ve had to take.”
(Video Credit: Fox News)
“They’ve made policies for us without even stepping foot on our farm, without even asking us anything… and [they] make our lives even worse or divide us even more like they are doing now,” Griggs claimed.
$4 billion is earmarked in the package to pay off up to 120% of black, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American farmers’ debt. The loans are slated to include “USDA Farm Service Agency direct farm loans, USDA guaranteed loans, and Commodity Credit Corporation farm storage loans, among others. The additional 20% is intended to pay off the taxes associated with the amount of the direct payment related to the outstanding debt.”
Approximately $1 billion is also designated for improved land access, equity commissions, agricultural training, and other forms of assistance.
“If you go into a bank, if you go into any place that loans you money, they are not going to look at who you are by color or race, they are going to look at your numbers on a piece of paper and if you don’t meet that criteria and you don’t meet that rule, you don’t get that money,” Griggs asserted.
“I think this bill could not only divide — promote division in the farming community,” Matt Griggs pointed out, “[but also] just in people in general.”
In 1920, black farmers made up about one-sixth of the total number of farmers. By 2017, fewer than 2% of farms were black-owned according to the USDA.
This upset with the USDA is not a new development… they have been accused of discrimination for years. The Pigford lawsuit was settled by the government in 1999. They paid out $1.25 billion to help farmers of color who claimed that they were discriminated against for loans and other assistance.
“White farmers were getting their debts written off, or getting loan amortization and rescheduled payments,” said John Boyd Jr., founder and president of the non-profit National Black Farmers Association. He has a farm in Virginia, near the North Carolina border. “They weren’t offering any of that to blacks. The USDA hasn’t been friendly to black farmers.” Boyd helped write the provision in the federal relief bill. The section was originally taken from the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) criticized “out-of-control liberals” for slipping the provision into the relief package. He bluntly labeled it as “reparations.”
“In this bill, if you’re a farmer, your loan will be forgiven up to 120% of your loan … if you’re socially disadvantaged, if you’re African American, some other minority, but if you’re a white person, if you’re a white woman, no forgiveness. That’s reparations. What does that have to do with COVID?” Graham stated in an interview with Fox News.
(Video Credit: Fox News)
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) called the provision “unconstitutional” and stated that Congress should pass debt forgiveness and aid that isn’t awarded to the “right race.”
“No proof of income or loss incurred due to COVID is needed to qualify. Just skin color or when you came to the country,” Toomey tweeted. “A white farmer, struggling to get by in Appalachia or anywhere else in the nation, is disqualified because of his skin color. Is this what the Democrats have in mind for ‘racial equity’?”
The push for the provision was spearheaded by Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA). He was joined by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
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