When the settlement was announced in February, I listened to you and the folks at the Department of Justice and USDA speak. There was a marked contrast between your tone — and I don’t want to say you sounded defeated, but skeptical in the extreme — and their tone, (which was) almost jubilant.

“Now, you can see why.

“I’ve been fighting this fight for 26 years. I’ve seen people on the turnip truck and people fall off. This has been a long haul.

“Every time I’ve been able to get a political victory, all the players were never in sync or in agreement. There was always somebody that didn’t agree.

“The piece in the farm bill, President Bush wasn’t really for. But it passed in the (last) farm bill anyway.”

 

You’re talking about the $100 million?

“Right. That was the piece that allowed the (black farmers) case to move forward to be heard based on its merits. … Now, I’m trying to secure the funding to get to the farmers…

“I’m concerned that if we don’t get something on record in September, we’ll be caught up in mid-term elections. I’ve been around politics long enough to know that isn’t a good time to be pushing a measure in Congress.

“That’s the biggest reason I want to meet with the president. If this doesn’t get done in September, what is the administration going to do to live up to its commitment to provide justice to the black farmers? That’s where I am because waiting until after November is not an option for the black farmers.”


dbennett@farmpress.com