As the Pigford I Settlement comes to a close: The Network of Black Farm Groups and Advocates stresses its positive impact on society

US Department of Agriculture deserves credit for its progress

Apr 26, 2013, 22:13 ET from Network of Black Farm Groups and Advocates

ATLANTA, April 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pigford consent decree on April 14, 1999 marked a productive first step toward compensating thousands of black farmers who faced decades of discrimination from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) over a 16-year period. Fourteen years later, as the commitments in the settlement are complete, the Network of Black Farm Groups and Advocates claim the lawsuit succeeded.

"The Pigford settlement righted some of the racial injustice and wrong-doings from the USDA that have been definitively documented throughout history. It is not an easy task, and there will certainly be bumps in the road," said Ralph Paige, Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund.  "But no compensation from this lawsuit can account for the loss of thousands of acres of Black-owned farmland valued at billions of dollars. At the same time, we can't overlook the encouraging progress made to remedy injustices faced by thousands of Black farmers who told bitter truths of unfair treatments in the past. When we overcome racial injustices like this, society benefits as a whole."  

The Pigford settlement spurred the USDA to place new emphasis on moving beyond its many past mistakes and welcoming Black and other minority farmers as its clients and partners. Clearly, the USDA is on the right track to righting these wrongs.

For more information on the history of injustice, view this recent piece on The Nation.


Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation
Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association
Federation of Southern Cooperatives/ Land Assistance Fund
Land Loss Prevention Project
Mississippi Family Farmers Association
Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project
Rural Advancement Fund
United Farmers, USA

Heather Gray
404 765 0991

SOURCE Network of Black Farm Groups and Advocates