Black farmers might get second try at claim

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WASHINGTON - Eight years after the government reached an agreement with black farmers over decades of discrimination, Democrats say the deal is broken and want to give farmers another chance at compensation.

Lawmakers began hearings Thursday on two proposals aimed at addressing a huge portion of claims that were denied because farmers missed a filing deadline. Many farmers have said they didn't know about it.

"Let's put all this in perspective: 90 percent of the claims filed under (the settlement) were denied," Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., said at a house Judiciary Committee hearing. "There is proof positive that (the settlement) hasn't worked."

At issue is the 1999 settlement of a class-action lawsuit by black farmers - mostly from the South - who alleged the Agriculture Department routinely denied them loans because of their race. The department agreed to pay at least $50,000 to farmers who could show they faced discrimination.

About two-thirds of the 22,442 farmers who filed have won claims, and the government has paid almost $950 million in compensation, according to a court-appointed monitor.

A vast majority - more than 63,000 claims - have not been heard because farmers missed the filing deadline years ago.

Mr. Davis is sponsoring a bill that would allow farmers who didn't receive notice of the deadline to refile their claims. A competing measure - sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., in the House and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, in the Senate - would allow the denied farmers to go back to court.

Similar bills were introduced in the last Congress but stalled.

Noting that the vast majority of civil rights claims never get to trial, Mr. Davis argued that Mr. Scott's proposal might offer only false hope.

"Ultimately, I don't think it's enough to say, 'Go back to court and get in line,'" Mr. Davis said.

Mr. Scott countered that Mr. Davis' legislation, which calls for more aggressive notification and would help claimants avoid foreclosure, might be too much to get through Congress. And, he said, farmers seem to want another chance in court.

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handoff57
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handoff57 06/22/07 - 06:24 am
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It's a shame that in the

It's a shame that in the south it's always about race. I came from a family of farmers, and all but one have dropped out in favor of driving trucks, working at the airport, and various other vocations. My family has farmed south middle Georgia (Dooly County area) for the last 200 or so years, and they didn't get the money they needed either. Last time I checked, we were all of Scottish decent.
Handoff57

doorag
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doorag 06/22/07 - 06:27 am
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here we go again!

here we go again!

ashley
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ashley 06/22/07 - 07:45 am
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this is just more pandering

this is just more pandering to a group of voters before an upcoming election. hey wait, i still havent gotten my mule and my forty acres. once again peoples tax money is being given away. and that is all people who pay taxes, not just white people.

owensjef
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owensjef 06/22/07 - 07:49 am
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Shut up

Shut up

kidcounselor
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kidcounselor 06/22/07 - 09:28 am
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Which part of 'missed

Which part of 'missed deadline' is difficult to understand? If I do not pay my taxes by April 15, I know the consequences; if I want to file a civil case, there are statutes of limitations. If I do not know the speed limit, and yet exceed it, I get a ticket. I was always told, ignorance of the law is no excuse... Apparently it can be if you are a certain race or a certain political party trying to get votes by any means necessary.

jmoval0315
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jmoval0315 06/22/07 - 10:19 am
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Any Black people with a

Any Black people with a computer besides in Augusta, All we read crap all day from simple minds. Don't you for get about me .
LA la lalalalalalalalalll lall la lal

johnsmith
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johnsmith 06/22/07 - 11:06 am
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jmoval, that post was even

jmoval, that post was even more difficult to understand than usual...

KingJames
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KingJames 06/22/07 - 11:53 am
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So are you all upset because

So are you all upset because of the initial agreement to try to right past discriminatory practices in granting loans to farmers? Are you all upset because the deadline for filing wasn't published? Or, are you all upset because someone is trying to do something about it? Does it not seem strange that farmers would need loans to stay afloat economically, but that loans would be granted unfairly, and then the deadline to correct the deeds was not known by many who could have benefited from the class action lawsuit? It doesn't sound all that strange to me because that's how government is. But for people to know that a certain group was mistreated and not want to try to right the wrong simply because they are not part of that group is a glowing example of cold heartedness in America. The fruited plain doesn't seem to bear fruit equally. Black farmers should get what was not allowed to them and they should have a fair opportunity to file.

peppernik
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peppernik 06/22/07 - 12:21 pm
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King James, so if I barked

King James, so if I barked loud enough about not getting a loan, I should be able to get free money from tax payers?

intheknow
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intheknow 06/22/07 - 12:29 pm
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KINGJAMES< Why do you even

KINGJAMES< Why do you even try. The Government has ADDMITTED to it. But, the first thing out of some of these people mouths are, here we go again. But boy they are ready to write the DUKES players Multi-Million dollars checks. Believe it or not, discrimination still take place. As soon as I read the headlines, I knew what some of the comments would be. I am ready for the hundreds of more to come.

owensjef
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owensjef 06/22/07 - 02:48 pm
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Aman King James.

Aman King James.

owensjef
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owensjef 06/22/07 - 02:51 pm
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They never want anyone to

They never want anyone to received anything except them. It kills me how predictable this site is.

johnsmith
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johnsmith 06/22/07 - 03:10 pm
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Who in the world is writing

Who in the world is writing checks to the Duke lacrosse players???

owensjef
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owensjef 06/22/07 - 03:15 pm
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Duke and soon Mr. nifong.

Duke and soon Mr. nifong.

KingJames
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KingJames 06/22/07 - 04:23 pm
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Peppernik, it is not whether

Peppernik, it is not whether or not you got a loan from the government that was the problem. The problem is that the government itself said that black farmers were unfairly denied loans and agreed that they should be compensated. That part was all good. The shady part came in when those who could have recieved compensation were not informed of the deadline to file for it. If another race would have won a class action suit, then the process and timelines would have probably been highly publicized. It is not that these people are looking for handouts. They just want to receive the same treatment that other farmers received during the loan process. Afterall, they produce the same comsumable goods as the farmers that received the loans. There's no difference in the food produced by a white farmer or a black farmer, so why should there be a difference in granting loans or compensating for not fairly granting loans?

Knight Mom
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Knight Mom 06/22/07 - 05:44 pm
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owensjef; Duke and Mr. Nifong

owensjef; Duke and Mr. Nifong don't work for the Federal Gov't, so the gov't is not giving those players anything. The only people suffering here are those who will be paying elevated tuition to Duke in the near future.

owensjef
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owensjef 06/22/07 - 05:55 pm
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I was just answering a

I was just answering a question.

iletuknow
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iletuknow 06/22/07 - 08:13 pm
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Just give them the money,with

Just give them the money,with no qualifications what so ever,that's what they really want.And of course personally deliver it with a we're sorry dedication ceremony.

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