U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) today is expected to join President Obama at the White House for the signing of the Pigford farmers bill. Also attending the ceremony is Tim Ward, a farmer from Goldsboro who participated in a roundtable Hagan hosted on the bill in August.
"Since coming to the Senate, I have worked to right this wrong for farmers in North Carolina and across the country," said Hagan. "In North Carolina, African American farmers were discriminated against and denied just compensation for decades. This is a historic day. With this law, our farmers are finally receiving the justice they deserve."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has acknowledged that it unfairly discriminated against African American farmers when they were applying for loans and other USDA programs. Last week, the House passed the Senate's Claims Resolution Act, sending it to the President.
Hagan has worked closely with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to ensure 4,000 African-American farmers in North Carolina and 75,000 nationwide can receive settlements following decades of discrimination by the Department of Agriculture.
In February, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack agreed to a $1.15 billion settlement with African American farmers. Hagan introduced legislation to fund the settlement with Senate Agriculture Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
In August, Hagan hosted a roundtable discussion in Raleigh on the need to fund the Pigford settlement with John Boyd, President of the National Black Farmers Association, and North Carolina African-American farmers, including Tim Ward.