More lawsuits ahead
The black farmers’ settlement is the second round of damages stemming from a class-action lawsuit the government originally settled in 1999. The new money is intended for people who were denied earlier payments because they missed deadlines for filing. Individual payments will depend on how many claims are successfully filed.
The Agriculture Department also faces further lawsuits from Hispanic and Indian farmers.
In the Indian landowners’ case, the plaintiffs say they were cheated out of royalties overseen by the Interior Department since 1887 for things like oil, gas, grazing and timber. The settlement, 14 years in the making, needs the approval of Congress.
Boyd said the farmers he works with don’t care about the machinations of Congress. All they see is a dysfunctional body that can’t get a broadly supported goal accomplished, he said.