New lawsuit targets racial discrimination in Minnesota farming grants
January 24, 2024
St. Paul, MN; January 24, 2024: A Northern Minnesota farmer filed a lawsuit today citing unequal treatment based on race and sex in a Minnesota grant program designed to help aspiring farmers buy farmland.
Lance Nistler met all of the eligibility requirements when he applied for the grant. Out of 176 applicants, Lance was picked ninth in the grant lottery. But despite his apparent luck, he was put at the back of the list. Unbeknownst to Lance, the grant program prioritizes so-called “emerging farmers” when awarding funds, regardless of the lottery results.
“Emerging farmers” are defined as farmers who can be categorized as racial minorities, women, or young, urban, and LGBTQIA+ individuals. The state first awards grants to all these groups, and any funding that’s left may be awarded to non-emerging farmer applicants in the order of their lottery placement.
“Minnesota believes Lance Nistler is less deserving of a farm because he has the wrong skin color and sex. It is unfair for the government to advantage or disadvantage anyone for benefits based on immutable characteristics like race and sex. Lance Nistler seeks to be treated equally with any other prospective farmer,” said Pacific Legal Foundation Attorney, Andrew Quinio.
Lance is fighting back with Pacific Legal Foundation, which is providing representation pro-bono. The case is Lance Nistler v. Walz, et al., filed in United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.
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 17 wins of 19 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.