U.S. Department of Agriculture: Resolution of Discrimination Complaints Involving Farm Credit and Payment Programs
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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Discrimination complaints by minority farmers including African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians who were denied benefits under the U.S. Department of Agricultures USDA farm assistance programs have been a long-standing issue. Compounding this concern has been USDAs inability to address discrimination complaints through its administrative processes in a timely manner. These issues came to a head in 1997 when a group of African-American farmers consolidated their claims of racial discrimination in farm lending and benefit programs into one class action suit against USDA Pigford v. Glickman. On April 14, 1999, a federal District Court approved a consent decree between the parties for settling the suit that included a framework for resolving the individual claims. USDA continues to operate its internal administrative process for resolving discrimination complaints that are outside the class action settlement. Concerned about certain aspects of the class action settlement and about USDA s administrative process for resolving program-related discrimination complaints, you asked us to examine 1 the status of claims under the class action settlement and 2 the results of the Departments efforts to resolve discrimination complaints by minority farmers through its administrative processes.
- Agricultural Economics
- Sociology and Law