Civil Rights Developments for USDA


Beginning in the late 1990s, several lawsuits were filed against USDA that alleged claims of racial discrimination. Those claims were either settled or resulted in administrative remedies administered by the Department. More recently, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) sought to provide debt relief for current Farms Service Agency loan program borrowers that are members of groups historically subjected to discrimination. Litigation challenges ensued across several jurisdictions. ARPA then was then revised by the Inflation Relief Act (IRA). IRA created a different avenue of USDA debt modification and payment, and also directed USDA to make significant payments to those who can demonstrate that they were subjected to discrimination by USDA. This webinar will focus on recent developments – particularly ARPA and IRA – and discuss the next steps USDA will take to implement the IRA. As part of that, this webinar will provide some historical background involving the USDA discrimination lawsuits.

Time and Date: 

 Wednesday, November 16, 2022

12:00 – 1:00 (EST)

11:00 – 12:00 (CST)


View a Recording of the Webinar Here


Stephen Carpenter is Deputy Director and Senior Staff Attorney at Farmers’ Legal Action Group, Inc. (FLAG). FLAG is a nonprofit law firm that works on behalf of family farmers. At FLAG, Stephen’s work has centered on discrimination in agricultural lending, debtor-creditor issues, COVID-19 relief, disaster assistance, federal farm programs, sustainable agriculture and direct marketing, and the problems of farmers contracting for livestock production. Stephen has conducted frequent FLAG trainings for farmers, advocates, and attorneys and has spoken to farmers and their advocates in more than forty states. He has authored and edited several FLAG materials and publications and has written a number of law review articles. Stephen is a graduate of Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, and of Stanford Law School. He came to FLAG in 1993.

Research & Materials:

Coming soon.