For Immediate Release
January 26, 2012
USDA Office of Communications
Those eligible must file claims no later than May11, 2012.
WASHINGTON, Jan.25 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack again reminded African American farmers and ranchers that the period to file a claim in the Pigford II settlement will end May11, 2012.
"In order to receive cash payment or loan forgiveness under the Pigford II settlement, African American farmers and ranchers who believe they qualify must file a claim during the 180-day claims period that began November14, 2011, and will end May11, 2012," said Secretary Vilsack. "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 January1, 1981 and December31, 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 PigfordI class action Consent Decree.
Claimant services representatives can be reached via the website (www.blackfarmercase.com
) or by 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 then be mailed to them. All those interested in learning more or receiving information about the claims process and claims packages are encouraged to contact the website or claims telephone number.
At a glance:
call number: 1-877-810-8110 or
claims period: November 14, 2011 to
May 11, 2012.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).