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Agri-Pulse reports:

The $4 billion debt relief program enacted by Congress to address past racial discrimination of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers suffered another legal defeat Wednesday when a federal judge in Florida halted payments nationwide.

In issuing a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard said the program is "untethered to an attempt to remedy any specific instance of past discrimination."

Instead, the program "appears to create an inflexible, race-based discriminatory program that is not tailored to make the individuals who experienced discrimination whole, increase participation among [socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers] (SDFRs) in USDA programs, or [eradicate] the evils of discrimination that remain following Congress' prior efforts to remedy the same," she said.

The debt relief program, which is designed to provide payments equaling 120% of debt held by SDFRs, had already been stopped by a temporary restraining order issued by a federal judge in Wisconsin earlier this month in a similar case. White farmer Scott Wynn brought the case against the government in Florida, also arguing that the program violates the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.

To read the entire report click here.

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