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Charlotte Area News

Black Farmers Settlement Derailed Again

A $1.2 billion discrimination settlement for black farmers is on hold again as Congress goes into recess. The head of the Black Farmers Association says it's time to start over. The funding of the settlement has repeatedly been stripped out of larger spending bills. The latest problem occurred Thursday evening. It was up for unanimous consent along with another settlement over mineral royalties owed Native Americans. But Republican Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso objected to parts of that deal. So now John Boyd, the head of the National Black Farmers Association, says the discrimination settlement needs it's own bill. "What we're doing now is not working. We don't have a passed bill after 7 attempts. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that something is not right here," Boyd says. Congress is in recess until mid-September. An August 13th deadline to fund the settlement must be extended. This is the second settlement out of a 1997 class-action case in which the U.S. Department of Agriculture admitted to decades of discrimination against black farmers. That case was filed by a North Carolina farmer.