More than 80,000 current and former black farmers in 42 states will now have their claims considered for inclusion in a $1.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved by a judge on Thursday.
But this second settlement related to systemic discrimination against black farmers over several decades doesn’t mean that everyone who files will get a check – or that the check soon will be in the mail.
“They are telling us it may be six months, maybe nine months or longer,” said Carl Eggleston of Farmsville, Virginia.
Federal Judge Paul Friedman approved the settlement late Thursday. He said it will likely take about a year for neutral parties to review claims, and then all of the settlements will be paid out at once.
This is the second round of settlements in the 1999 case known as the Pigford case, after the original plaintiff, North Carolina farmer Timothy Pigford. The settlement is directed at farmers who were denied payments in the first round because they missed deadlines for filing.
Congress passed the settlement last year.
Eggleston said he began applying for assistance from the USDA in the late 1960s so he could expand a hog farm that had been operated by his father.
“I applied for loans, and some way, the paperwork always disappeared. That happened even when I went into the office, sat across the table from an agent and filled out the paperwork,” Eggleston told BlackAmericaWeb.com.
Eggleston said he missed the deadline for the first Pigford case settlement with the USDA because he didn’t know about it.
In 2000, he started trying to get his issues with the USDA addressed.
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article courtesy of BlackAmericaWeb.com/Denise Stewart
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