Mecklenburg County, Virginia — On his southern Virginia farm on a recent warm Saturday, John Boyd Jr. needs a dose of rain before he can plant soybeans.
More than 200 miles away in Washington, Boyd has a bigger problem on his hands. President Obama has promised to help black farmers who have not received the $1.25 billion settlement owed to them after years of being denied government farm loans and support from federal programs because of the color of their skin.
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“This is not about us complaining, this is about the government not doing what they promised they were going to do time and time again,” Boyd said.
The 1997 case against the U.S. Agriculture Department, Pigford v. Glickman, was settled out of court 11 years ago but tens of thousands of farmers missed the filing deadline to submit claims.
As a senator, President Obama sponsored a measure in the 2008 Farm Bill that reopened the case, known as Pigford II.
In February, the Obama administration brokered a $1.25 billion settlement for Pigford II, but Congress missed a March 31 deadline to fund it. Another deadline, May 31, approaches.