New deal for black farmers

The Obama administration on Thursday announced a $1.25 billion deal with black farmers that could end a years-long stalemate over alleged racial discrimination by the Agriculture Department.

If approved by Congress, it would be the second round of damages stemming from a class-action lawsuit the government originally settled in 1999. The new money is intended for people who were denied earlier payments because they missed deadlines for filing. The amount of money each would get depends on how many claims are successfully filed.

“More than a decade after the settlement of the Pigford lawsuit, many individuals still have not received payments due to the inaction of the previous administration,” Second District Rep. Bennie Thompson said in a statement.

Black farmers held a rally in Jackson, Miss., last week leading up to a scheduled protest this week at the Capitol.

Clarion Ledger/AP
2/19/10