St. Paul, MN; June 6, 2024: A Minnesota farmer has declared victory in a legal fight over discriminatory grant requirements for the state’s Down Payment Assistance Grant Program. In the wake of a lawsuit brought by farmer Lance Nistler, Gov. Tim Walz signed legislation on May 24 that rolls back an illegal policy that gave priority to “emerging farmers” based on immutable characteristics such as race and sex.  

“Thanks to the courage of a small farmer, equality before the law has been restored in Minnesota. Because Lance Nistler stood up for his right to equal treatment, the state will no longer disadvantage farmers based on their race and sex,” said PLF attorney Andrew Quinio. “We are thrilled that Governor Walz and the state legislature responded to Lance’s lawsuit by amending the Down Payment Assistance Grant Program so that it does not unlawfully discriminate against Minnesota’s hardworking small farmers. We encourage other states to follow Minnesota’s about-face and stop violating the Constitution’s guarantee of equality before the law.”  

In January, Lance Nistler filed his lawsuit, citing unequal treatment based on race and sex when, despite being picked ninth in the grant lottery, he was put at the back of the list. The grant program prioritized “emerging farmers,” which are defined as farmers who can be categorized as racial minorities, women, or young, urban, and LGBTQIA+ individuals. 

Pacific Legal Foundation represented Nistler free-of-charge. PLF is committed to ending government discrimination based on race and sex, restoring equal freedom for all. 

The case is Lance Nistler v. Walz, et al. 


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Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit law firm that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 18 wins of 20 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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