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Friday, May 11, 2012 - 3:07pm

Deadline For Black Farmers In Lawsuit

Time is up for 6,000 to 7,000 black farmers in Georgia to apply for a share in a legal settlement regarding racial discrimination by the federal Department of Agriculture.

The courts found black farmers were discriminated against by the USDA when they applied for loans from 1981 to 1996. That’s when the Reagan Administration eliminated the civil rights division in the USDA.

But many farmers missed the deadline to file a claim, so a second settlement fund of nearly a Billion dollars allowed those farmers to file a new claim. The deadline was Friday.

Attorney Mercer King represents the Georgia farmers.

He says almost half of the farmers who have applied for relief are no longer able to farm. And others are at risk of losing their farms.

“They’re still on the edge. A lot of the eligible participants are up there in age. So they necessarily themselves would not be farmers. But their heirs are farming.”

Depending on how many farmers are in the final claimant pool, the average farmer could get about $50 thousand in settlement money, as well $12,500 in tax relief. King says they could see that money by the end of the year or early in 2013.

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