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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Central Valley | Racial Justice
Black Farmers ~ Pigford II Claims in the "Greatest Garden in the World"
Pigford II claimants have an opportunity to file essential documentation in a second round of opportunity based upon statue from the 2008 Food, Conservation and Energy Act. Native American, Women, Hispanic and Black Agriculture producers have the opportunity to remedy discrimination claims from last century. May 11, 2012 is the deadline for Black Farmers and Ranchers
Sacramento, CA ~ Black Agriculture continues to highlight the efforts of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to remind Black Farmers and Ranchers that the period to file a claim in the Pigford II settlement is open and ends May 11, 2012.
California Black Farmers and Ranchers who believe they are entitled to compensation under the Pigford II settlement must file a claim in order to receive cash payment or loan forgiveness.
"The opening of this claims process marks another milestone in USDA's efforts to correct the wrongs of the past and ensure fair treatment to all current and future customers. "Black Farmers, those who attempted to Farm and the surviving heirs of dececied family members of “late filers” in the Pigford Class are urged to file claims in a landmark $1.25 billion settlement with the federal government before time runs.”
Friday, March 30 in Tracy, California
Saturday, March 31 in Visalia, California
and April 2 in Long Beach, California
The Pigford II meetings are scheduled to assist California Black Farmers file essential documents to determine eligibility to receive payments under the settlement and/or consideration for other services outlined in the terms of the settlement.
Last year, President Barack Obama signed into law the settlement that may cover 75,000 black farmers nationwide and about 1,500 in California, according to Environmental Group report from 2004. Past claimants in Track A received about $50,000 per family with priority consideration for targeted USDA services, Track B payments were on a case by case basis.
The Portland, Oregon based company contracted to facilitate the process have added additional meetings in California and may coordinate efforts with Congressional members before the May 11 deadline to file claims.
Sadly, there are no California based attorneys working this round of Pigford claims in the nations #1 Agriculture state, however Pigford claimants don't have to pay anything to file and should beware of others looking to charge them.
California Blacks in Agriculture was a program established in the early 1980's by Willie Brown, then Speaker of the California Assembly, today we need Congressional, Legislative and Regional champions to help restore Agriculture as the foundation of Black Culture.
This is the second and final round of funding for Black Farmers from a class-action lawsuit originally settled in 1999 over allegations of widespread discrimination by local Agriculture Department offices in awarding loans and other aid.
Unfortunately, misinformation and poor coordination continue to challenge a positive resolution to move Beyond Pigford toward job creation, career development building equity and equal opportunity throughout the U.S. Agriculture industry, beginning in the #1 Agriculture State, California. The broader Black community, especially the Black Church is almost absent in the effort to build a brighter future through access to fresh fruits and vegetables demonstrating the “Faith to Farm.”
Under Secretary Vilsack's leadership, USDA is addressing civil rights complaints that go back decades, to usher in "a new era of civil rights" for the Department and to pave the way for new and stronger relationships with the farming and ranching community
The Pigford II deadline is May 11, 2012.
Claimant services representatives can also be reached through calling 1-877-810-8110 or 1-866-950-5547. Claimants must register for a claims package (by calling the number or visiting the website) and the claims package will be mailed to claimants. All those interested in learning more or receiving information about the claims process and claims packages are encouraged to attend a meeting and contact the website or claims telephone number.
The website is: http://www.blackfarmercase.com