By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer
A Black Farmers Meeting is being held at E.M. Henry Head Start to discuss concerns about discrimination against minority farmers applying for federal assistance.
The meeting will be held on May 11 at 5 p.m. and will feature Corey Lea of the Cow Town Foundation in Tennessee and local leader Robert Binion of the Black Farmers organization.
Lea said the Cow Town Foundation works to challenge rules that discriminate in who receives funding and represent farmers in the legal fight.
Recent concerns center on the USDA’s Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, commonly known as the NAP program.
Binion said the program has provided funds to large farm operations for irrigation, but has denied this funding to smaller farms, putting the smaller farms at a disadvantage.
During the May 11 meeting, Lea will present information about a meeting on June 1 where minority farmers will challenge the NAP distribution of funds for irrigation in the federal court at Montgomery.
He will also discuss how minority farmers have been denied the opportunity to have a hearing with the administrative law judge.
Lea said these practices are “basically, forcing black farmers out of business.”
“The USDA owes most of the farmers that are applying for this money from the Pigford case,” Lea said.
Pigford vs. Glickman grew into a class action lawsuit in which minority farmers, who applied and qualified, received monetary compensation for the USDA denying loans to black farmers.
“We have been working on this since 1996, but we can’t give up,” Binion said.
Binion and Lea claim many farmers who received approval to receive a portion of this settlement have not received the funds. They say others who should be eligible were denied approval.
“We are just trying to get some of these farmers paid,” Binion said.
E.M. Henry Head Start is located at 413 14th Street in Clanton.
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