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Suit against government by African-American farmers reaches settlement

Friday, February 19, 2010

President Barack Obama has said his administration is dedicated to having all Americans treated fairly.
President Barack Obama has said his administration is dedicated to having all Americans treated fairly.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Justice recently announced that a lawsuit put forward by African-American farmers has come to a resolution.

The litigation, known as Pigford II, was put forward by African-American farmers who felt as though they were discriminated against regarding USDA loan programs. Though the settlement must still be approved by Congress, it would provide $1.25 billion, which will be tallied out in a "non-judicial claims process."

The $1.25 billion includes the $100 million that was already approved by the federal legislature through the 2008 Farm Bill. According to the USDA, President Barack Obama requested additional funds be included in the 2010 fiscal year budget in order to end the litigation.

"My administration is dedicated to ensuring that federal agencies treat all our citizens fairly, and the settlement in the Pigford case reflects that commitment," Obama said.

Those who feel as though they are entitled to funds can put in a claim, which will be heard by a neutral party. Claimants may be entitled to $50,000 in debt relief, while a second process may provide up to $250,000.

Along with providing disaster relief, loan programs from the USDA can be used to purchase things like farm equipment, feed and other supplies.
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