A plant requires sunlight and water to survive. Moreover, if a farmer lacks the necessary water, equipment, and resources their crops will grow scarce. Ultimately, they end up out of the farming business. Out of business, or nearly on the verge, is where many Black farmers find themselves. It\’s very rare that conversations on our nation\’s crops make the news, but it\’s very critical. It often seems like a secret.
Certainty, it was no secret that Black farmers feel discriminated against and displayed this by filing a class action lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture. On April 14, 1999, Judge Paul Friedman approved a $1.15 billion dollar settlement agreement and consent decree in Pigford v. Glickman. Pigford v Glickman is a class action discrimination suit claiming that the USDA discriminated against Black Farmers on the basis of race. It also claims that the agency failed to investigate or properly respond to complaints from 1983-1997.
Black Farmers Awarded Settlements
Fast forward to 2016. Some Black Farmers have been awarded settlements. However, a great number of them do not necessary agree that the USDA and United States Government have upheld the terms of the consent decree. Farmers from Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama drove to Washington, DC to support Dorothy and Eddie Wise. Dorothy and Eddie are fellow farmers who are petitioning the courts for being escorted in their bedroom clothing off of their 106 acres of land.
While they were inside, many Black farmers supported them outside of the District of Columbia Supreme Court on Friday morning. The sun was beaming down on the steps of the Supreme Court as Farmer Robert Binion from Clayton Alabama shared his experiences and challenges he has encounter along with 40 or so years of farming. There were an estimated thirty farmers who drove to Washington, DC to have their voices heard.
So, TUNE in now as the farmers share their experience…