Senate Passes Black Farmer Lawsuit
This just in from the Network of Black Farm Groups and Advocates:
For Immediate Release: November 19, 2010
Contact: Heather Gray 404 765 0991
Senate Passes Black Farmer Lawsuit Legislation
ATLANTA…Two years after the provision in the 2008 Farm Bill that provided the opportunity for late petitioners in the Black farmer lawsuit to file their claims against the United States Department of Agriculture, the Senate has finally passed an appropriations bill that will fund the lawsuit. It was a vote of unanimous consent. While the Senate version of the bill still needs to pass the House of Representatives, the passage in the U.S. Senate was a momentous occasion.
At a time when people decry divisiveness prevails in Congress, this effort to pass the Black farmer lawsuit was ultimately one of impressive collaboration between the Republicans and Democrats as well as the Obama Administration. The Cobell Native American land trust lawsuit was also attached 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.
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 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.
in addition, the sizable “Listing of Organizational Support for Pigford Lawsuit Funding” enumerated below are of organizations that signed letters sent to both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The Network of Black Farm Groups and Advocates are thankful for the support of the Black farmer lawsuit ultimately received in Congress and throughout the country. We also support the Secretary of Agriculture’s efforts to resolve all of the outstanding lawsuits against the USDA for discrimination of underserved farmers.