John Boyd Jr. and the battle for black farmers

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May 22, 2010. Baskerville, Virginia.. A view of land that John Boyd, Jr. and his father lease near their 100 year old family farm.. Dr. John Boyd, Jr., a Virginia farmer, has lobbied the White House and Congress for the better part of two decades on behalf of black farmers. .A $1.25 billion settlement he helped to negotiate in February for the federal government to compensate black farmers has become ensnared in Washington. .Meanwhile, many elderly farmers who stand to benefit are dying before they can seek restitution..Their case, known as the black farmers settlement, and commonly referred to as Pigford II, is the second phase of a federal lawsuit settled in 1999. It covers more than 80,000 farmers who claim they were denied critical aid comparable to what white farmers received from the Department of Agriculture between 1981 and 1996 because of the color of their skin..Congress reopened the case in 2008, and set aside $100 million to address the late claims. President Barack Obama, who co-sponsored the 2008 measure when he was in the Senate, created a $1.15 billion line item in his budget for the 2010 fiscal year to cover the new class of litigants..The money was less than half of the $2.5 billion the farmers had fought for, but the administration's promise of a quick resolution prompted them to accept the deal.  .