Aug. 26, 2004 – Two African American farmers have filed separate lawsuits against the US Department of Agriculture, saying the government agency has not paid money owed to them following a racial discrimination suit from the late 1990s.
The new suits follow a slew of litigation brought by black farmers across the US who are contesting the USDA's handling of a settlement intended to resolve a 1997 discrimination lawsuit. The original lawsuit was brought by black farmers who said the USDA denied them federal loans and subsidies because of their race. The federal government settled the 1997 suit by agreeing to pay those black farmers who complained about biases in the USDAs lending and subsidies policy.
The two farmers who filed suit in Washington, DC, on August 20 are both from Kansas and are seeking compensation totaling $40 million. They say they are facing eviction from their land by the USDA due to growing financial burdens at the same time they are waiting for the government agency to pay them for the 1997 settlement.