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Obama Proposes $1.25 Billion for Black Farmers

AFRO, Posted: May 15, 2009

(May 12, 2009) - President Barack Obama is proposing that the government give $1.25 billion to settle discrimination claims by Black farmers against the Agriculture Department, the Associated Press reports.

The White House said the money would be included in Obamas 2010 budget request, which will be released on Thursday.

Earlier this year, Black farmers and lawmakers criticized Obama for neglecting the need for more money to fund claims under a 10-year-old, class-action lawsuit against the government.

In a statement, Obama said the proposed funds would close this chapter in the agencys history.

"My hope is that the farmers and their families who were denied access to USDA loans and programs will be made whole and will have the chance to rebuild their lives and their businesses,"Obama said.

John Boyd, head of the National Black Farmers Association, has called the proposal a "step in the right direction, but said additional funds would be needed.

We think this is a good step in the negotiating process. We're glad to know this issue is on the president's radar screen and we commend him for taking this step," he said. But "we need to make sure that none of the Black farmers are left out."

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