Atlanta, GA....The second phase of the Black Farmer lawsuit against the USDA ended on May 11, 2012. No more claims can now be filed in this lawsuit, which is also known as "Pigford II" or the "In Re Black Farmer Discrimination Litigation". Claimants are now receiving information as to whether they have prevailed or not and some have already received their award money.
There is concern, however, that some are suggesting that it is still possible to file a claim in the lawsuit. This is not correct.
There is also some confusion as to who was eligible to participate in the Pigford II lawsuit. It does not apply to every African American who farmed in the last century, but rather to a class of individuals who farmed between 1981 and 1996. Here is the criteria:
- The Class Member is an African-American who farmed, or attempted to farm, between January 1, 1981, and December 31, 1996;
- The Class Member applied, or constructively applied, for a specific farm credit transaction(s) or non-credit benefit(s) at a USDA office between January 1, 1981, and December 31, 1996 and was denied services;
- The Class Member complained of discrimination to an official of the United States Government on or before July 1, 1997, regarding USDA's treatment of him or her in response to the application(s).
Additionally, for the second phase of the lawsuit Judge Paul Friedman in the U.S. District Court stated that the litigation applied to the following: "All individuals: (1) who submitted late-filing requests under Section 5(g) of the Pigford v Glickman Consent Decree on or after October 13, 1999, and on or before June 18, 2008; but (2) who have not obtained a determination on the merits of their discrimination complaints, as defined by Section 1(h) of the Consent Decree."
"The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (Federation) discourages any individuals from paying money to organizations requesting a membership fee or other charge which they say will give them access to the lawsuit. For example, $100 membership fee," said John Zippert, Director of Program Operations for the Federation in Epes, Alabama.
For those requesting additional information please call the Federation offices in the following states:
Federation office in Alabama: 205-652-9676
Federation office in Atlanta: 404-765-0991
Federation office in Mississippi: 601-354-2750
Note: The Federation/LAF, now in its 46th year, assists Black family farmers across the South with farm management, debt restructuring, alternative crop suggestions, marketing expertise and a whole range of services to ensure family farm survivability.
2769 Church Street - East Point, GA - 30344