Black farmers have still not been compensated for decades of discrimination against them by federal agriculture officials.
An estimated 40,000 Black farmers have still not been paid the $1.2 billion settlement they were promised in 2010 for racial discrimination against them by the USDA.
For decades, Black farmers were being excluded from federal farm loan and assistance programs because of their race. Pigford II, the current settlement, is intended to compensate Black farmers who were not included in a 1999 settlement that paid out more than $1 billion to at least 22,000 farmers.
"It should not have taken this long," said Thomas Burrell, president of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association to The News Star. "Justice delayed is justice denied."
"The maximum payment is $62,500, including $50,000 for the claim and $12,500 for taxes," Andrew Marks, one of three lead attorneys representing farmers, told News Star.
The News Star reports:
Farmers originally were told payments would arrive by late 2012.
John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, said his office gets daily calls from farmers asking when they will get their check.
"It's very frustrating," he said. "But I'm hopeful that the farmers do get the settlement and are able to put the funds to use and make a difference in their lives... They're not going to get their farms back, but if you can't pay your light bill it could make a difference on your bottom line."
Lawyers hope the claims will be paid out by the end of April.
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