Screenshot courtesy of Fortune | Farmer John Boyd Jr. poses for a portrait during a break from bailing hay at his farm in Boydton, Va., on May 27, 2021. AP Photo/Steve Helber

Black farmers are suing the government over what they say are broken promises of federal aid: ‘They gave us their word’

The federal government has illegally broken a promise to pay off the debts of a group of Black farmers, according to a class-action lawsuit. The group hopes to put pressure on officials to keep their word and to restore funding that was dropped after a group of white farmers filed legal challenges arguing their exclusion was a violation of their constitutional rights.

The lawsuit filed in October remains active even as the U.S. Department of Agriculture moves forward with another effort to help farmers in financial distress in addition to paying farmers who the agency discriminated against.

John Boyd Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association and one of four plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said that the new programs don’t match the USDA’s earlier offer to pay off 120% of the debt of farmers who are socially disadvantaged.

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