Statement by John Boyd on Historic Legislation in Senate, House
WASHINGTON, DC -- The following statement was released today by John W. Boyd, Jr. the founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association:
"Today is historic for the nation's Black farmers and their families. With the introduction of the Pigford Claims Remedy Act of 2007 in the Senate and House, we move two steps closer to remedying an injustice against Black farmers across America."
"Senators Grassley and Obama, Congressmen Scott and Chabot, and many others on the Hill and in the Administration have given new bipartisan life to an issue that for too long received national attention but few advocates on the Hill."
"Eight years ago the US Department of Agriculture settled the largest civil rights suit in American history seemingly ending the decades-long struggle by Black farmers who were discriminated against by all levels of the USDA."
"Thousands of families lost their farms and their livelihoods because of discrimination and farm bureau gatekeepers who prevented Black farmers from accessing federal grants and loans that were created to help sustain and grow family farms. Applications were not reviewed on their merits, and in many cases they were even thrown in the trash."
"At the turn of the century there were a million Black farmers in the US, but today there are less than 18,000. This is a travesty and the government played a big role in forcing Black farm families from their professions."
"Today many of the Black farmers who did not have their cases heard by the USDA and the Department of Justice have new hope. When these bills become law - and the President previously told me he will support it - these farmers will have their cases heard on the merits."