John Boyd, head of the National Black Farmers Association is sending a letter to the white house formally asking president Obama for a meeting on the black farmer settlement monies.
Boyd says he has seen no signs so far that resolving the settlement issue is a priority of the administration. White house officials contend they will meet with the black farmers but the president is already behind the effort and does not need to meet with them. President Obama placed 1.25 billion dollars into his 2011 budget for congress to approve. White house Sources contend the hope was the funding would have been approved in the health care reconciliation bill but something happened procedurally. Now there is a 60 day deadline extension for congress to find a way to fund the settlement.
The farmers are anxious to finalize this process after waiting 15 years for the monies. John Boyd contends, “farmers were expecting the settlement payments before the end of planting season. More black farmers will die waiting for justice.”
Below the letter to President Obama.
April 8, 2010
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
I write to you out of a great sense of concern about the settlement between the black farmers and
the United States Department of Agriculture. As you know after suffering years of
discrimination and injustice, black farmers reached a settlement with the Department of Justice.
The settlement called for Congress to fund the settlement by appropriating $1.15 billion by
This deadline has passed. The settlement agreement by its own terms is in jeopardy of being
voided unless Congress appropriates the $1.15 billion immediately. That is where Presidential
leadership comes in, particularly since this is a cause you championed when in the Senate.
I have been waiting for tangible signs that the funding of this settlement is a priority of this
Administration. I am sorry to report I have observed nothing to give me confidence that this is
the case. That is why I am requesting a face to face meeting to discuss the black farmer
settlement and what you can do to help get it funded.
I stood with you on the campaign trail in the battle ground states of North Carolina and Virginia.
I stood with you in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma,
South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia. I stood with you in twelve states, Mr. President. I
respectfully request that we meet to discuss this issue in detail. The farmers have waited long
enough – each day delayed is another farmer passed on.
Mr. President, I stood for you – for the sake of the black farmers I respectfully request that you
sit with me.
NATIONAL BLACK FARMERS ASSOCIATION
From the Office of the President
Dr. John W. Boyd, Jr.