The Cobell and Pigford II signing Ceremony is locked in for Wed. December 8, 2010 on the White House campus where President Obama will sign H.R. 4783 the Claims Resolution Act of 2010. Sources contend some persons associated with the Cobell and Pigford II lawsuits will also meet with the President in the Oval Office some time close to the ceremony.
The White House recognizes the historical significance of this event. The 4.6 billion dollar Act is one of the largest civil rights payouts by the United States government. 3.4 billion dollars is being awarded to American Indians over claims they were cheated out of royalties overseen by the interior Department for resources like oil, gas and timber. 1.2 billion dollars would go to African-Americans who claim they were unfairly denied loans and other assistance in the Farm Loan Program at the Agriculture Department.
Meanwhile, the United States Department of Agriculture is working to make sure poor farmers will not have any repeats of past discriminations in the Farm Loan Program. The agency is working to turn the clock on discrimination by conducting outreach programs to attract disadvantaged rural agrarians. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack contends “we are really trying to drill down with our USDA programs to get those very poor communities engaged in our programs. So we are working with her on that.”
A familiar face that has been fighting for black farmer justice for decades is consulting on the effort. The department will be utilizing former Georgia Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack says Sherrod is set to travel to “Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia. The agency is targeting “persistent poverty counties, where there is nothing but difficulty” according to Vilsack.