Minnesota farmer challenges racist state government policy

One of the strangest and most disturbing political trends in recent years has been the enthusiastic embrace by many on the “left” of the most putrid racial politics long associated with the worst of the “right.” As a result, explicitly racist laws are, once again, being passed in the United States.

The DFL passed one of these explicitly racist laws last year and one Minnesotan is challenging it. The Center Square reports:

In 2023, The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $500,000 to create a grant program for eligible small farmers to receive up to $15,000 to buy farmland. Eligible residents must be Minnesota residents earning less than $250,000 annually in gross agricultural sales, provide the majority of day-to-day labor on the farm they planned to buy for at least five years and not have previously owned farmland.

The report goes on:

…Lance Nistler was picked 9th out of 176 people in the grant lottery and met all eligibility requirements but was placed at the back of the list because the program prioritizes “emerging farmers” when awarding funds.

“Emerging farmers” are farmers who can be categorized as racial minorities, women, or young, urban, and LGBTQIA+ individuals.

And so, the Star Tribune reports:

In federal court Wednesday in Minnesota, Lance Nistler, of Kelliher in Beltrami County, filed suit against Gov. Tim Walz and the state’s agriculture commissioner, Thom Petersen, arguing a state “emerging farmer” grant — which prioritizes funding of historically underserved farmers, such as BIPOC or female producers — violated Nistler’s civil rights.

“Despite Nistler being the model individual the state ought to be assisting with farm ownership, and despite being one of the first applications picked in the lottery, he lacked the state’s preferred skin color and sex,” stated Nistler’s lawsuit, which conservative legal group Pacific Legal Foundation filed.

The facts of this case are clear: Minnesota’s state government based its treatment of Lance Nistler on the color of his skin. We do not have to invoke “systemic” or “institutional” racism here: this is explicit.

The Star Tribune writes that “The percentage of U.S. farmers who are Black fell from 14% to 1.4% in the past century. According to the 2018 Ag Census, less than 1% of Minnesota’s farmers are people of color.” It goes on to say the racist legislation was intended “[t]o address past wrongs.” This is all based on the notion that, as Ibram X. Kendi writes, “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

But you cannot oppose “bad racism” with “good racism” because there is no such thing as “good racism.” A similarly racist federal scheme was struck down and we hope that Lance Nistler prevails in Minnesota.