This is a huge, huge victory for myself and black farmers, many of whom have died waiting for justice. I have been working on this thing for 26 years. I’ve been hearing ‘no’ for so very long.” John Boyd of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA)
On Friday, November 12th the senate unanimously approved funding for a $1.15 billion settlement to compensate Black farmers who were racially discriminated against by the Department of Agriculture. The case in question is the Pigford v. Glickman case which was settled in 1999 and “provided that qualified farmers could receive $50,000 each to settle claims they were denied farm loans or subjected to longer waits for loan approval because of racism.” ~Reuters
Read more about the case in Black Farmers Hold Press Conference For $1.5 Billion
Also included in the senate bill is compensation for American Indians in a class-action lawsuit against the Interior Department over the mismanagement of Indian trust fund accounts.
The bill totals $4.6 billion and is one of the largest civil rights settlements in U.S. history. Apparently the senate is able to pass something with bipartisan support which is somewhat heartening until you consider that the case was already won, but congress went on vacation instead of funding the claim despite President Obama’s urging on the behalf of these farmers. The bill also needs to be approved by the lame duck House before the president can sign it into law.
Similar discrimination lawsuits have been filed against the U.S. Department of Agriculture by women and Latino farmers according to Obama and officials are still working to resolve those suits.
The NBFA Inc. is a non-profit, community organization founded in February of 1995, by John Boyd, Jr., of Baskerville, Virginia, a third generation farmer who is determined to hold on to his heritage, and to save his farm from foreclosure caused by racial discrimination under the United States Department of Agriculture.