WASHINGTON (CN) – Black farmers demand more than $100 million plus $3,000 per class member from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, claiming the USDA racially discriminated in loan and benefit programs from 1981 through 1986, and denied 63,000 Southern farmers the opportunity to file for relief.
The class claims the USDA also failed to properly account for, investigate, process or resolve years of civil rights complaints.
It claims that Congress, under a consent degree resulting from consolidated litigation, set up a $100 million fund for about 15,000 Pigford class members.
But plaintiffs say that of 65,991 people who petitioned to file a late claim, only 2,699 petitions were approved, denying 63,292 people the opportunity to file claims.
They say the $100 million will not be enough money to fairly compensate everyone.
The farmers’ lead counsel in Federal Court is J.L. Chestnut Jr. with Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders of Selma, Ala.