WASHINGTON – Thousands of black farmers who were discriminated against by the U.S. Agriculture Department will be eligible to receive $1.25 billion in a settlement, the government said on Thursday.
The settlement of the case, known as Pigford II, is contingent on Congress approving $1.15 billion for the farmers, in addition to $100 million already provided in the Farm Bill.
For decades, black farmers said they were unjustly being denied farm loans or subjected to longer waits for loan approval because of racism, and accused the USDA of not responding to their complaints.
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The original Pigford lawsuit, named after North Carolina farmer Timothy Pigford, was filed against the USDA in 1997, and settled two years later when the government compensated black farmers left out of USDA loan and assistance programs.