Black farmers settlement deadline nears

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The final claims deadline nears for black farmers in the historic $1.25 billion settlement.

It's been years in the making, now 68,000 African American farmers who say they were discriminated against will get money they won in a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The time is ticking for black farmers who experienced farm loan discrimination by the USDA to claim their share of a $1.25 billion dollar settlement.

This settlement includes those who attempted to in the initial Pigford case but were denied because they missed the deadline.

Officials say those eligible to get payments and loan forgiveness from the

Black farmers discrimination settlement must file by May 11th.

"I was trying to get a loan and they continued to loose my paperwork. And you cannot operate the farm without the loan. And I lost my land," Georgia farmer James Copeland said.

The settlement gives farmers or their heirs compensation for being denied their livelihood.

"If the USDA had given my father the loan that he qualified for, he may not have lost his farm," an Alabama Farmer's son Earl Moorer said.

Lawyers appointed by the court are holding meetings around the country to provide those who are included in the settlement with free help filing claims. Lawyers representing the farmers are pleased the final stages are near.

"You can never have real justice when you've been run off your farm. You can never have justice when you can't feed your family. You can never have justice when you've lost your land but this is some compensation and it is fair,' Alabama State Senator and Co-Counsel for the Black Farmers Settlement Hank Sanders said.

Completing a claim may take some time, so people who think they might be included should get more information now.

For more information on how to file a claim and meeting locations, call 1-877-810-8110.

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