Judge approves settlement to pay black farmers for decades of discrimination

The Takeaway

Story from The Takeaway. Listen to the above audio for a complete report.

A settlement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Black farmers in America has reached its last act.

A U.S. judge orded the government to pay the farmers $1.25 billion as settlement for decades of racial discrimination in USDA programs.

But Gary Grant, president of Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association, says in some ways, it’s too little too late.

“I don’t think it’s a happy day for Black farmers. We’ve been put out of farming, we’ve lost our land, we’ve lost our way of life,” he said. Even if you receive $50,000, it was not enough to compensate you for the damage that was done and restore you to where you were.”

The settlement was actually reached early last year and the funds were appropriated by Congress in 2010, but the judge just granted final approval last week. Now the clock starts on a roughly 12 month process to distribute the money to the farmers who deserve it.

Each farmer must retain an attorney in order to receive the settlemtn. Attorneys’ fees will be paid out of the settlement as well.

“It is not the end to the story, but it will probably end one of the chapters. But it’s still a long haul until we can turn the page,” Grant said.


“The Takeaway” is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

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