USDA ‘Rejects’ Farmer’s Application Because His Address Contained An ‘Offensive’ Word

The US Department of Agriculture declined a Georgia cattle farmer Gene King’s application for a special interstate transport license because his address included “a banned word.”

“No one’s got a problem coming to Gay, Georgia. I don’t have a problem living in Gay, Georgia. But the USDA’s got a problem with Gay, Georgia,” King said in an interview.

Moreover, King admitted that the name can be quite confusing when used in a typical conversation.

“I have gay friends.”

“Here in Gay, Georgia?”

“No, not in Gay, Georgia.”

“You have gay friends outside of Gay.”

“Outside of Gay, yeah.”

Earlier this month, Gene applied for a special ID through the USDA called a Premises Number. That enables him to purchase and sell cattle across state lines. He finished the form and requested to check on his status.

“She said it’s kicking it out saying that’s an offensive word and won’t accept your application,” King said.

Because of the banned word, the USDA emailed back with a workaround. Change Gene’s hometown on the application from Gay to Bay. However, King did not agree.

“And I said no, I don’t want to submit it as Bay, Georgia. I want to submit it as Gay, Georgia because that’s where I live. And she said do you want a number or not?” King said he told the government worker over the phone.

In response to the incident, the USDA issued a statement:

The premises identification allocator was originally developed in the early 2000s for the National Animal Identification System, using the technology available at the time. The program was very contentious and IT developers were concerned about the possibility of people attempting to create “bad” premises IDs to prove there was a problem with the program or its IT systems. They created a database of words with bad connotations that would not be allowed in the system.

Sources: Fox 5 Atlanta / Photo Credit: Fox 5 Atlanta

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