I. On Monday, March 25, 2013, the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA), Tom Vilsack will announce that he will extend the deadline in the claims process for Hispanic and female farmers and ranchers.

As a result of several United States congressional officials echoing concerns from members of the Hispanic and female farmers and ranchers stating, among other things, that they (Hispanics et al.) were being subjected to “stricter criteria for obtaining relief” than other farmers (African American) — Mr. Vilsack will grant their wish.

One of Congress’ particular concerns is:

“The  requirement  that  claimants  provide  evidence of a

written  complaint  of  discrimination  filed  with  the Farm

Services Agency  at  the time of incident, which  for many

claimants was almost thirty years ago, when legally such

formal complaints were not required.”

See letter to Secretary Vilsack, dated January 22, 2013, from Mark Udall (U.S. Senator), Michael F. Bennet (U.S. Senator) and Scott Tipton (U.S. Representative) attached to link above.

These Congressional officials are now echoing and otherwise voicing an earlier concern and argument that was raised in Federal Court on September 1, 2011, (the Fairness Hearing) by Thomas Burrell, of BFAA, Inc. in Pigford II (In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation). See Document No. 208 at n 48.

Hereto, as was the argument by BFAA, members of Congress are, stating that without the ability to produce certain standards being demanded by USDA “many potential claimants are likely to not participate at all in the claims process.” They went on to say that “delays are also certain to occur with this higher standard.”

Moreover, congress also stated that, “we believe that extending the claims period will provide a better opportunity for achieving justice by ensuring that claimants have full and fair consideration of their claims.” “We urge you to extend the claims process and seek to address these concerns outlined above within the bounds of all relevant laws and regulations.”

2. Also on Monday, March 25, 2013, BFAA, Incorporated will file a Motion To Intervene (Fed. R. Civ. P. 24 (a) and (b), and L.R. 7(j)).  Accordingly, BFAA is seeking an opportunity for its members who were unable to obtain a determination in Pigford to be permitted to file claims now under the administrative claims process being offered to females and Hispanic farmers.

3. Now.  The question that must be advanced, necessarily,  is, where are the members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP voicing and advocating for members of the African American farming community and the heirs who are experiencing the same challenges as are now being express by white politicians and/or advocates for the benefit of their constituency?


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