Black Farmers Still Waiting for Settlement Money

Black farmers who settled a discrimination lawsuit with the federal government and the US Department of Agriculture are still waiting for payments, according to some farm sources.
For the past several years, African American farmers have been fighting with the government over allegations of discrimination dating back more than twenty years. The Pigford lawsuits alleged that, in the 80s, black farmers faced systematic discrimination at the hands of USDA loan officers, who denied them access to farm credit because of their race.
While Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Barack Obama both signaled their willingness to settle the lawsuits early in the Obama administration (and despite President Obama signing a law two years ago that authorized compensation for black farmers), the money has not been forthcoming.
“It should not have taken this long,” said Thomas Burrell, president of the Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association. “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
“We have not received not one penny,” said an 81-year-old Louisiana farmer. “They’ve been doing reviews since last year… I’m sure they have a lot of lawyers working on it. Why is it taking so long?”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer