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Independent Black Farmers Speak Out Against Discrimination by the USDA

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The Independent Black Farmers held a Press Conference in Town Creek, AL. at the farm of Mr. Michael Stovall, a Black farmer who has been fighting the USDA for 20 years.

Robert R. Binion a Black farmer from Clanton, Al., spoke at the press conference and he said that he prevailed in the Pigford lawsuit and was told if you were paid $50,000, you would receive “injunctive relief”.  However, according to Mr. Binion he does not know of one farmer who prevailed that was given “injunctive relief.” He said, “We were talking about $200,000 cash money for each farmer but we accepted this low ball figure of $50,000 in this consent decree only because we expected to get ‘injunctive relief’ — proper servicing on USDA programs and loans after the lawsuit. 

Mr. Stovall’s chicken houses have been sitting empty for 12 and one half years. Mr. Stovall has been in and out of court suing the USDA for 20 years in which there has been numerous findings of discrimination and breaches of contracts but nothing has been done. The Justice Department seems to be working for the USDA, not for the farmers.  Mr. Stovall said, “The Justice Committee must investigate the USDA and the Department of Justice.  I have been denied loans to purchase farms. I have had a contract to purchase a cattle farm, but the seller reneged after I had bought the cows. 

Mr. Ferrell Oden has been fighting the USDA for 6 years. He applied for a loan to set up a fish farm. He was denied and the farm was sold to another white farmer. Mr. Oden said, “I filed a complaint of discrimination at USDA headquarters in DC. Then in 2009 the national USDA office told the local USDA office in Alabama that I had complained.

Please join Host Antoinette Harrell and her special guests: Michael Stovall, Ferrell Oden.

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