Attorney Andrew Quinio of Pacific Legal Foundation says the lawsuit concerns a grant program for which Lance Nistler applied and was denied because he is a white male.
"Essentially, Minnesota robbed him … of the opportunity to buy his own farm by rigging this grant program against him because of his race and sex," Quinio summarizes.
Nistler applied for the grant, which offers farmers up to $15,000 to buy their first farmland, in July 2023, and he was one of the first applicants selected in the lottery for it.
"The way it works is all the applications are put in the lottery, and they're all randomly selected," Quinio explains. "The applications that are selected are then reordered and reshuffled based on whether the applicant is an emerging farmer. Emerging farmers are defined as those that, among other things, are racial minorities, women, LGBTQ."
Because Nistler is none of those, his application was sent to the back of the line. He was put on a wait list and later denied the grant funds.
"We are suing the state of Minnesota to vindicate his rights to equal treatment under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution," the attorney relays.
He warns that if Minnesota is allowed to discriminate based on gender and race, it will not stop there; it is a growing national trend.
"Whether you are in Minnesota, or whether you are in Maine, or if you're in Dallas, where they have the trend of equity programs that ultimately result in discrimination based on skin color – it is not going to be stopped unless people like my client, Mr. Nistler, stand up for their rights," says Quinio.
The lawsuit, Lance Nistler v. Waltz, et al., is filed in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.