Update On USDA's Settlement With Black Farmers
Friday, August 31st, 2012
More than $1 billion is estimated for Pigford I and II for claims involving class settlements for black farmers, according to the Justice Department.
Including cash awards, debt relief, and tax payments, approximately $1,015,727,494 was distributed to class members who won Track A claims in Pigford I and $48 million in cash awards and debt relief was distributed to Pigford I class members who won Track B claims. Approximately 15,650 claims were approved in Pigford I, while about 7,000 Pigford I claims were denied.
No money has been distributed in Pigford II, but as of last week, 39,567 claims had been received.
"We don't know yet how many Pigford II class members will prevail on their claims. Class counsel, and not DOJ or USDA, is administering the Pigford II claims process," according to Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller.
Pigford I class members whose timely claims were denied were barred from participation in Pigford II.
About 39,000 African-American farmers claims in Pigford I were denied because they were untimely filed claims in Pigford II.
The largest numbers of Pigford I claims were filed by farmers in Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina. As we pointed out in a 2010 Agri-Pulse report , the total number of Pigford claimants dramatically exceeded the number of black farmers reported by USDA's own count.