Today, the Upper Midwest Law Center (UMLC) and the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) filed the lawsuit Lance Nistler v. Tim Walz, et al., a groundbreaking case challenging race and sex-based discrimination in Minnesota’s farming grant program. Lance Nistler, a Northern Minnesota farmer, filed the lawsuit, asserting unequal treatment based on race and sex in a program designed to assist aspiring farmers in acquiring farmland.
Despite meeting all eligibility requirements and being selected ninth in the grant lottery out of 176 applicants, Lance Nistler discovered that he was placed at the back of the list due to the program’s prioritization of so-called “emerging farmers,” including racial minorities, women, and individuals from young, urban, and LGBTQIA+ communities. The state’s allocation process favors these groups, distributing any remaining funds to non-emerging-farmer applicants pushed to the back of the line with disfavored 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.
“We stand with the Pacific Legal Foundation and Lance Nistler against race and sex discrimination in Minnesota’s farming grants. No one should face obstacles in realizing their dreams based on their race or sex,” said James Dickey, Senior Counsel at UMLC. “We believe in a real ‘One Minnesota’ where opportunities are equal for all and not based on race and sex discrimination. This case is about upholding the principles of fairness and equal treatment under the law.”
Read the complaint here.