Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Raleigh News and Observer-Black Farmers Still Waiting For USDA Money

photo courtesy of Applewhite/AP
(Story reported by Lynn Bonner)

It was a big day for thousands of black farmers in February when the federal government announced an agreement to settle complaints of racial bias against the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But so far, Congress has failed to back up the promise of the $1.25 billion settlement with any money. The U.S. House has approved the spending, but the plan has stalled in the U.S. Senate.

Senators have failed several times to approve the payment. Money for the settlement fund has been stripped out of some bills because of concerns that it would add to the deficit. Farmers and supporters in the Senate are pushing for a vote today.

Black farmers are becoming anxious, worried that the compensation that they have waited for will slip away. The Senate is set to begin its August recess later this week, and John Boyd, founder of the National Black Farmers Association, said he is concerned that the issue will be shunted aside if the Senate doesn't vote before the break.

(click here to read the full story on the Raleigh News and Observer website)

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