November 19, 2010  

Heather Gray- 404 765 0991

Network of Black Farm Groups and Advocates

Senate Passes Black Farmer Lawsuit Legislation

ATLANTA...Two years after the provision in the 2008 Farm Bill that provided the opportunity for late petitioners in the Black farmer lawsuit to file their claims against the United States Department of Agriculture, the Senate has finally passed an appropriations bill that will fund the lawsuit. It was a vote of unanimous consent. While the Senate version of the bill still needs to pass the House of Representatives, the passage in the U.S. Senate was a momentous occasion.

At a time when people decry divisiveness prevails in Congress, this effort to pass the Black farmer lawsuit was ultimately one of impressive collaboration between the Republicans and Democrats as well as the Obama Administration. The Cobell Native American land trust lawsuit was also attached to the bill.

From the outset Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was an excellent facilitator of Republican Senators to assure their support for passage of the bill and as an outspoken supporter of Black farmers to be compensated for the discrimination they have experienced. This was coupled with the leadership of Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid who has consistently attempted to bring this bill before the Senate and advocate for its passage. The Obama administration has also played an extraordinarily important and much appreciated role in the passage of this bill.

Another most important advocate has been the NAACP under the leadership of Ben Jealous that has consistently worked in Washington, DC and nationally in support of the Black farmer lawsuit.

The representatives of the Network of Black Farm Groups and Advocates listed below were in Washington numerous times this year to talk with Senators and Representatives about the importance of the required appropriations. They represent Black farm groups and Black farmers from throughout the Southeast.

in addition, the sizable "Listing of Organizational Support for Pigford Lawsuit Funding" enumerated below are of organizations that signed letters sent to both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The Network of Black Farm Groups and Advocates are thankful for the support of the Black farmer lawsuit ultimately received in Congress and throughout the country. We also support the Secretary of Agriculture's efforts to resolve all of the outstanding lawsuits against the USDA for discrimination of underserved farmers.


Network of Black Farm Groups and Advocates

Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation (AR)
Contact: Calvin King - 870 734 1140

Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association (NC)
Contact: Gary Grant - 252 826 3017

Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (GA)
Contact: Ralph Paige - 404 765 0991
Land Loss Prevention Project (NC)
Contact: Savi Horne - 800 672 5839

Mississippi Family Farmers Association (MS)
Contact: Eddie Carthan - 662 458 0983

Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project (OK)
Contact:Willard Tillman - 405 201 6624

Rural Advancement Fund (SC)
Contact: Georgia Good - 803 378 9450

Texas Landowners Association (TX)
Contact: Edward Cline - 713 306 7184
United Farmers, USA (SC)
Contact: Hezaheiah Gibson
803 410 2055

Listing of Organizational Support for Pigford Lawsuit Funding
(State or headquarters for information in parenthesis)

Advocates for Environmental Human Rights (LA)
African American Family Farmers, Inc. (GA)
Agriculture Missions, Inc. (NY)
Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice (AL)
Alabama State Association of Cooperatives (AL)
Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network (AL)
American Sustainable Business Council (DC)
Atlanta International Action Center (GA)
Bay Area Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement (CA)
Beat 4 Cooperative (MS)
Black Agriculture Network (CA)
Black Communities Process (PCN)
Black Men's Health Initiative (NC)
BioRegional Strategies (NM)
California Farmers Union (CA)
Carolina Concerned Citizens (NC)
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (NC)
Center for Rural Affairs (NE)
Community Food Security Coalition (DC)
Community Vison Council (NY)
Concerned Citizens of Tillery (NC)
Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice (CT)
Connections Unlimited, LLC (OR)
Disciples Justice Action Network (DC)
Ecological Farming Association (CA)
Equitable Negotiations And Associates, LLC (GA)
Family Farmers Cooperatives (MS)
Family Farm Defenders (WI)
Farm Aid, Inc. (MA)
Farmworker Association of Florida (FL)
Fernandez Ranch (WA)
Flats Mentor Farm (MA)
Flint River Farmers Cooperative (GA)
Food and Water Watch (DC)
Georgia Green Party (GA)
Georgia Rural Urban Summit (GA)
Grandmothers Going Global
Greene/Sumter Farmers Cooperative (AL)
Housing Assistance Council (DC)
Human Rights Research Fund (GA)
Illinois Stewardship Alliance (IL)
Indian Springs Farmers Cooperative (MS)
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) (MN)
Just Food (NY)
Kentucky Minority Farmers Association (KY)
Land Stewardship Project (MN)
League of Rural Voters (MN)
Malcolm X Center for Self Determination (SC)
Michael Fields Agriculture Institute (WI)
Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MI)
Ministry of Agriculture of the Nation of Islam (NOI) (GA)
Mississippi State Association of Cooperatives (MS)
Missouri Rural Crisis Center (MO)
Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs
National Center for Appropriate Technology
National Association of Farmer Elected Committees (NAFEC)
National Family Farm Coalition (DC)
National Farmers Union (DC)
National Hmong American Farmers, Inc
National Immigrant Farming Initiative
National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (DC)
Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society
Northeast Organic Farming Association- Interstate Council (CT)
North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NC)
North Carolina Fair Share (NC)
Other Worlds (California, USA) Pan-African News Wire
P&G Farms, LLC.
Pennsylvania Farmers Union (PA)
PLBA Housing Development Corporation (AL)
Policy Link (CA)
Rural Coalition/Coalicion Rural  (DC)
Rural Development Leadership Network (NY)
Rural Library Project Inc. (GA)
Sankofa Vision, Inc. (LA)
Slow Food, USA
Solidarity Committee, Capital District (DC)
South Carolina Sea Island Farmers Cooperative (SC)
South Carolina State Association of Cooperatives (SC)
Southeast Regional Economic Justice Network (NC)
Southeastern African-American Farmers Organic Network (GA)
The Area Wide Health Committee (NC)
TransAfrica Forum (DC)
Truly Living Well Natural Urban Farms (GA)
Virginia Association for Biological Farming (VA)
Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
Women, Food and Agriculture Network
WhyHunger (NY)

For additional information please contact:
Heather Gray, Director of Communications
Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund
404 765 0991



Note: The Federation/LAF, now in its 43rd year,  assists Black family farmers across the South with farm management, debt restructuring, alternative crop suggestions, marketing expertise and a whole range of services to ensure family farm survivability.