Government Has Not Made Its Agreed to Price

Government Has Not Made Its Agreed to Price

Black farmers discrimination case still needs Congress to appropriate funds.

The decades-old Pigford discrimination case continues to drag on despite a promise by the federal government to pay more than $1 billion by the end of March. Following passage of health care legislation, Congress headed home for a two-week recess without appropriating the money. Farmers are frustrated. John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, says that right now, it's planting time, and we thought we would have the funds in time for this season.

Boyd said he is sure government and the farmers will be able to agree on an extension to the settlement, which compensates black farmers who were unfairly denied farm operating loans. But he is worried the case will continue to be overlooked when Congress returns.

Watching closely are Native American farmers who, in 1999, filed an unresolved lawsuit alleging discrimination against USDA. Court proceedings in their case, known as Keepseagle, have been put on hold while they negotiate with the government. The deadline for a settlement in their case is April 21.

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