Black Farmers Win $1.25 Billion in Discrimination Suit

Jasmin Melvin, Reuters, February 18, 2010

Black farmers who were discriminated against by the U.S. Agriculture Department will receive $1.25 billion in a settlement, the USDA and the Justice Department said on Thursday.

The settlement of the case, known as Pigford II, is contingent on Congress approving $1.15 billion for the farmers, in addition to $100 million already provided in the Farm Bill.

The original Pigford case, named after North Carolina farmer Timothy Pigford, ended in 1999 after the government agreed to compensate black farmers left out of USDA loan and assistance programs due to racism.

Farmers able to provide proof of their claims of discrimination were awarded $50,000, but tens of thousands of claims were denied for missing the filing deadline.

The settlement in Pigford II would allow these farmers to again make their claims.

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Black farmers able to demonstrate they suffered from discrimination would get up to $50,000 and debt relief.

A separate, more in-depth claims process could provide some farmers with up to $250,000 in damages. {snip}

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Any foreclosure on farms with pending claims will be halted until the claims are addressed. Those with successful claims will begin receiving payments in mid-2011.

[The American Renaissance article “Who Wants to Be a Black Millionaire” can be read here.]

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