Number of Black Farmers Who Will Get Payments from $1.25 Billion USDA Settlement Tough to Determine, Attorneys Say

By Fred Lucas|CNSNews

“We’ve already paid out compensation to 16,000, and now we’re giving out $1.15 billion to an additional 94,000 claimants, there is obvious fraud here that can’t be accounted for,” said Rep. Michelle Bachmann

The number of African-American farmers who will eventually receive a portion of a $1.25-billion government settlement for discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is almost impossible to determine at this point, said attorneys representing the second batch of complainants in the Pigford case.

Congress recently approved $1.15 billion–to add to $100 million approved in the 2008 farm bill–to compensate black farmers who say the USDA discriminated against them sometime between 1981 and 1996, but missed the 1999 filing deadline for a settlement in the case of Pigford v. Glickman that was made by the Clinton administration.

As a result of the Clinton-era settlement (Pigford I), 22,550 black farmers filed claims by the relevant deadlines, and the U.S. government ultimately paid about $1 billion to 15,640 of them.

Pigford II” refers to a second round of discrimination claims made since 1999 and a second settlement made with black farmers by with Obama administration.

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