The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Information on African American Farmers Settlement Claims Filing Period in Pigford II

Posted on December 02, 2011 at 11:31 AM

We would like to relay this information from USDA about the African American farmers settlement claims filing period in Pigford II, which began on November 14, 2011 and ends on May 11, 2012.

We would also like to congratulate USDA, the National Black Farmers Association, and everyone else involved in bringing about this progress in redressing the wrongs against African American farmers and ranchers. We have many African Americans in the Delta so this is a very important issue for our region.

This regards the historic settlement arising from a class action lawsuit against USDA that alleges the Department discriminated against African-Americans who applied for or attempted to apply for farm loans or other farm benefits between Jan. 1, 1981 and Dec. 31, 1996.

We know that work still remains to be done on this issue, but for those of us who recall the arduous process begun in the Clinton administration to resolve the African American farmers’ cases, it is a very impressive achievement.

While many leaders are responsible for this progress, certainly USDA Assistant Secretary of Administration Pearlie Reed deserves much praise for his efforts beginning in the Clinton administration with USDA Secretary Dan Glickman and continuing in the Obama administration under USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. John Boyd, Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association, worked tirelessly on these issues literally for decades. Mr. Boyd is a fourth generation black farmer, businessman, and civil rights activist who knows many people in the Delta grassroots coalition extending from southern Missouri and Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

We know that many others played vital roles in addition to Assistant Secretary Pearlie Reed, NBFA President John Boyd, and the Congressional Black Caucus and apologize that we do not have the space to list them all here.

The important facts about the settlement claims filing period are listed below in this statement from USDA. Some of our partners may have seen this but we just wanted to help do our part to get the word out as broadly as possible. Thanks–Lee Powell, MDGC (202) 360-6347

“Pigford Settlement Claims Filing Period Opens for African American Farmers and Ranchers”

Those Eligible Must File Claims No Later Than May 11, 2012

WASHINGTON, November 28, 2011- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today reminded African American farmers and ranchers that the period to file a claim in the Pigford II settlement has opened.

“With the opening of the claims process, African American farmers and ranchers who believe they are entitled to compensation under the Pigford II settlement must file a claim within 180 days in order to receive cash payment or loan forgiveness,” said Secretary Vilsack. “The opening of this claims process marks another milestone in USDA’s efforts to correct the wrongs of the past and ensure fair treatment to all current and future customers.”

In February, USDA and Department of Justice announced an agreement with African American farmers to settle the Pigford II litigation for $1.25 billion. Congress passed the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 that funded the settlement in November 2010, and the bill was signed by President Obama in December 2010.

The settlement arises from a class action lawsuit against USDA that alleges the Department discriminated against African-Americans who applied for or attempted to apply for farm loans or other farm benefits between January 1, 1981 and December 31, 1996. The settlement applies only to African-American farmers who meet specific eligibility requirements, including the requirement that they previously submitted a request to file a late claim in the 1999 Pigford I class action Consent Decree.

The filing period opened November 14, 2011, and continues for 180 days, until May 11, 2012.

Claimant services representatives can also be reached through calling 1-877-810-8110 or 1-866-950-5547. Claimants must register for a claims package (by calling the number or visiting the website) and the claims package will be mailed to claimants. All those interested in learning more or receiving information about the claims process and claims packages are encouraged to attend a meeting and contact the website or claims telephone number.

The website is:

The call number is: 1-877-810-8110 or 1-866-950-5547

Claims period: November 14, 2011 to May 11, 2012

Under Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, USDA is addressing civil rights complaints that go back decades, to usher in “a new era of civil rights” for the Department and to pave the way for new and stronger relationships with the farming and ranching community.

In October 2010, Secretary Vilsack announced the Keepseagle settlement with Native American farmers. In February 2011, he announced his intention to establish an alternative dispute resolution process to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers. Secretary Vilsack has made it a priority to resolve all of the civil rights cases facing the Department which were inherited by this Administration.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD)