Black farmers settlement is "win for all family farmers"


Willie Adams, a Black farmer in Greene County, Ga., hailed President Obama's $1.25 billion proposed settlement of a lawsuit by Black farmers demanding compensation for 80 years of racist discrimination in federal farm loan programs.

"It's long overdue," said Adams in a telephone interview with, Feb. 22. Adams grows beef cattle, poultry and vegetables on his organic farm where he was born. His grandfather bought the place in 1938 under a New Deal program initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Under the proposed settlement, announced by Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, Feb. 18, each Black farmer could receive $50,000 under an expedited settlement process or more if they fill out a more lengthy application.

"President Obama wants to settle this," Adams said. "The administration has to get approval from the House and Senate. With all the cutbacks, I'm afraid. We have to let the lawmakers know that we want this settlement funded."

Adams, active in the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA), was an initiator of the first lawsuit filed by 16,000 Black farmers in 1997. A federal judge ordered the Agriculture Department to pay $1 billion to Black farmers for decades of discrimination in which Black farmers suffered long delays or outright rejection of their applications for federal loans.

Adams application for that first settlement was denied. "I think the U.S. Department of Agriculture discriminated against us because we started the lawsuit," he said. "I hope they pick up all those farmers who were excluded in the first settlement. I will go with the streamlined process to get the $50,000."

NBFA President John W. Boyd Jr. said the settlement is not enough to restore Black farmers to the land they lost from discrimination "but it will help them have some comfort in their final years."

Rep. Barbara Lee, D- Calif., voiced hope that the settlement will help stop the hemorrhage in which half the nation's Black farmers have lost their farms in the past twenty years.

Adams pointed out that African Americans have tilled the soil, planted and picked the tobacco and cotton since they arrived in chains in this country in 1619. "We have been involved in agriculture since slavery," he said. "We were promised forty-acres and a mule under Reconstruction which we never received. We were the sharecroppers."

Millions of Black farmers have been driven from their farms by discrimination both private sector and government, Adams said. "Here in Greene County there were about 200 Black farmers in the 1930s and 1940s. Now there are two full-time Black farmers in my county."

Adams expressed hope that with the surging popular demand for local, organic, food, more youth, including Black youth, decide to go into agriculture. "I hope we have a chance to visit First Lady Michelle Obama and see the garden she started at the White House, with her ideal of encouraging people to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables."

Adams stressed that a victory for Black farmers is a victory for all family and independent farmers. Encouraged by the success of the National Black Farmers Association, Native American Indians have filed suit against oil and mining companies charging these giants with swindling them of billions of dollars in royalties. Latino and women farmers are also suing the federal government for discrimination.

"I support the Native American Indians," Adams said. "They should be made whole for the discrimination they suffered. The same for Hispanic and women farmers, all family farmers. We need to work together more. We gain strength from working together. We are all involved in food production."

Photo: http://lawsuit by Black farmers /


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  • Hello my name is Yulonda. I was trying to see did I qualify for the settlement. And how do I get the form to fill out

    Posted by Yulonda Allen , 03/20/2014 1:57am (2 years ago)

  • hello im lee I need to see if I
    qualified for black farmer settle ment

    Posted by lee gooden, 10/15/2013 7:09pm (2 years ago)

  • Donald Bryant
    To whom it may concern
    I am a decedent of Mr. Price Bryant of Houston Georgia. I would like to know what due I have to do to receive the form to put in a claim

    Posted by Donald .Bryant, 10/03/2013 10:57am (2 years ago)

  • hello/my farther used to farm back in the early seventy,through the late wayne county,ga.his farther also farmed.we applied for the pigford case in 1997 but they said we were to late.even today we are trying to get help.we did the 40acres and farther is now 80 years old and i would like to see him get what is due to him/and my mother who is still with him and been there by his side since they been married.i am 44years old i work on my parents farm as a child also.if anyone can help his name is mr.alex floyd at 912/579/2780. lets stick together .may god bless all.thank you michael.

    Posted by michaelfloyd, 03/30/2011 2:09pm (5 years ago)

  • what about the old farmers from 40's up to 60's who were white. walking behind a mule and spraying cotton poision from a sprayer. the dirt farmers couldn't make it because didn't have money for machines and cotton pickers.

    Posted by jenks hudson, 12/28/2010 8:03pm (5 years ago)

  • My name is Teresa Crutcher. My Grandparents Ollie and Odell Burney were black land owners who farmed cotton and other crops in Huntsville, Alabama up until the beginning of the 90"s. Instead of using outsiders to farm the land, maintain and harvest the crops, they gave that responsibility to their children (4), grand children (17) and great grand children (34) I am a grand daughter of Odell and Ollie and my mother has 14 children and all of us and our children helped to farm the land and we did it all by hand. ory, My Grandparents and my mom died waiting on justice to be served in this Black Farmers Lawsuit and the rest of us have high hopes that God will allow us compensation from this Black Farmers Lawsuit.

    Posted by Teresa Crutcher, 12/12/2010 4:41pm (5 years ago)

  • Hi, this is Rosie Mae Young i'm from Alberta,Al i were rise up with my grandma, which had 11 kids mother of 4 kids i,m a parent of 7 kids 32grand 4pass i farm on a little farm land Alberta, AL IT WERE COMING UP STILL HARD i were denied now enough is enough i suffer long enough my family in i deserved to smile again !!!!!!! CAN'T WAIT TO SMILE AGAIN WE DESERVE IT!!!

    Posted by Rosie Mae Young, 09/10/2010 1:10pm (5 years ago)

  • My name is Patricia Witherspoon Brown, my family have waited a long time for this settlement. We were denied the first settlement, they said that we did't get the form in on time. Our family filed again on behalf of our father and mother Mr & Mrs Eddie L Witherspoon who were famers and had farmed all of their lives. Our father and mother had 15 kids to care for on this farm. Our father went in the early 80s and applied for a USDA loan and he two was denied. Our father only had one mule and one plow to work the large farm that we had, it was really hard on them. In 1985 he pasted away. Our mother had to take on the responsibility and did what little she knew how to do to take care of our family. Our mother about eight years ago go sick, she couldn't walk, talk or do anything for herself, she also pasted away on oct 11, 2009. Nither my father or mother were able to see any of this money, and know what they, and their kids worked so hard for, have finely came to the light. This settlement is not the only thing that have came to the light that i wish our kids, and their kids will be able to see, and not have to experience what their grandfather and grandmother had to experience. Congress needs to act on this right away. Sincerely Patricia Witherspoon Brown

    Posted by Patricia Witherspoon Brown, 05/17/2010 11:12pm (5 years ago)

  • when will the money be release? What order are they going through? How long will it take to receive the money?

    Posted by Tyranee Williams, 04/20/2010 11:12pm (5 years ago)

  • i endorse the support of mr. willie e. adams comments i read earlier. he is exactly right in his saying. the $50,000.00 is a help but should be a higher number. i hope and pray one day we as brothers and sisters of this beautiful world that the good lord has made will be eradicated of these past ills that have kept the good lord from blessing america as he desires. i will send a special prayer daily to help all of us to be a kinder and gentle nation to each other. there is enough wealth in the world to give every person in the united states $125,000.00 annualy and still have reserves. thank you'.

    william j. simmons sr.
    229- 759- 0878

    Posted by william j. simmons sr., 03/10/2010 10:06pm (6 years ago)

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