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Black Farmers to Receive Discrimination Settlement
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shadow777



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Black Farmers to Receive Discrimination Settlement

By: John Daniels | Posted: August 5, 2013 at 11:26 AM

After years of waiting, about 18,000 U.S. farmers are set to receive payments from the Department of Agriculture as part of a $1.2 billion discrimination settlement with the department, the Clarion Ledger reports. Attorneys for the farmers were expected to submit papers to the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., regarding final payment on Friday. This settlement is the second round of payments for affected farmers.

The maximum “payment is $62,500 -- $50,000 for the claim and $12,500 for taxes,” the Ledger reports:

It’s been more than two years since President Barack Obama signed the settlement into law. Congress approved the $1.2 billion settlement in 2010 in what has become known as “the Pigford case.”
The case against federal agriculture officials found that the agency denied loans and other assistance for years to black farmers because of their race.
The settlement marks the second round of payments for black farmers. Thousands received payments as part of a 1999 class-action settlement. The second round, dubbed Pigford II, will pay farmers who missed the first filing deadline.

The maximum payment is $62,500 — $50,000 for the claim and $12,500 for taxes. The filing deadline was last May.

Of the $1.2 billion, about $91 million was approved for attorney fees.

Lawyers for the farmers have said claims were being reviewed by a court-approved mediation and arbitration firm. The lawyers were expected to submit a final report from the claims administrator Friday.

The process has taken longer than initially projected. Farmers originally were told payments could arrive by late 2012.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who pushed for the settlement in Congress, said he remains “deeply concerned with the length of time that it has taken to resolve these discrimination claims.”

He called on lawyers for the farmers, the claims administrator and federal agriculture and justice officials, to move more quickly to resolve any issues.

Boyd said he also met with Congressional Black Caucus members to relay the concerns of farmers, as well as Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., and staff from Thompson’s office.

“I know black farmers are frustrated with the delays in the Pigford II settlement payments. I am frustrated, too,” Clyburn said. “But there were safeguards built into the legislation to ensure all of the claims are thoroughly vetted in an effort to be good stewards of public funds.”

http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20130805/NEWS01/308050005/Black-farmers-closer-payouts?gcheck=1&nclick_check=1
Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:04 am View user's profile Find all posts by shadow777 Send private message Send e-mail
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