Pigford II Settlement Funding Finally Approved
The President has signed the Pigford II settlement funding bill after the US Senate finally approved a bill by unanimous consent. As previously reported by APN, the second opportunity for Black farmers to participate in the Pigford settlement was meant to assist those who did not know about the settlement and did not file a claim during the time period specifiedby Pigford I. The Pigford II settement had actually been approved; this was now the appropriation of funds to fund the settlement. After languishing for two years, it looks like the USDA/ Shirley Sherrod scandal finally created some public awareness and pressure concerning the plight of the Black farmers in Georgia. The Cobell Native American Land Trust settlement was also funded as an attachment to the bill.
“From the outset Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was an excellent facilitator of Republican Senators to assure their support for passage of the bill and as an outspoken supporter of Black farmers to be compensated for the discrimination they have experienced. This was coupled with the leadership of Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid who has consistently attempted to bring this bill before the Senate and advocate for its passage. The Obama administration has also played an extraordinarily important and much appreciated role in the passage of this bill,” the Network of Black Farm Groups and Advocates said in a press release.
“Another most important advocate has been the NAACP under the leadership of Ben Jealous that has consistently worked in Washington, DC and nationally in support of the Black farmer lawsuit,” the group said.
“The representatives of the Network of Black Farm Groups and Advocates listed below were in Washington numerous times this year to talk with Senators and Representatives about the importance of the required appropriations. They represent Black farm groups and Black farmers from throughout the Southeast,” the group said.