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Secretary Clinton said widespread discrimination failed. But during that time, for me, the fight was about the land. The fight for me was never really about $50,000. The
An

fight was about the land, Your Honor, and the land is gone.

my father taught me, a landless culture is a powerless culture. If you donlt own any land, you donlt own any power. He also

told us that a poor business, which was his farm, was better than a good job any day of the week. Those are the things that

kept me going throughout all of this process. As I close, I want to take a little time to thank all of the other groups. Of course 11m not here today to say that I

or we done any of this alone, but there was a lot of groups that is supported this measure over the years and they deserve to be recognized. Therels a lot of members of Congress that took a

chance on this bill, Republican and Democrat alike: chuck Grassley, who was a tireless advocate; Bobby Scotti John Conyers; Maxine Watersi former senator Chuck Robb, who introduced the first statute of limitations bill. And you can say what you want about the other four cases that was filed in federal court, the womenls case, the Hispanic case, and the Indian case, and their attorney in the room'today, Alexander Pires, but he fought all of those cases. Whether we like what happened with the outcome, he took But it wasnlt a popular

his chance on these cases, Your Honor. stance to do so.

So therels a lot of things that happened.

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And you only have a little wiggle room in this bill. And I can tell you that myself drafted the first bill, along with Rosalind Gray. I think she's here somewhere.

Rosalind Gray helped draft that first bill, Your Honor, and in that first bill there was a measure in there for all of the 9,000 farmers who were denied in the first lawsuit. an issue there with injunctive relief. There was a whole lot of measures in that bill when we first started. All those things began to be chopped out. They There was

took out the piece about the 9,000 farmers that was denied. They took out the piece about injunctive relief. And we was

left with this small window of opportunity for the late filers. And I'm urging the Court today not to put anything on the table, but to put this measure on a fast track. Because

I've looked into the faces of the farmers around the country. They need this settlement. And I respect everything that everybody came to the microphone before me. Brother Burrell, he

made some excellent points about all of the things that are wrong about this settlement. As a matter of fact, Your Honor, they all are right. This is not perfect. But what do we do? Do we continue to try

21 22 23 24 25

to move on something that mayor expedite that process?

may not happen, or do we

Get those resources to those farmers who

have suffered for so many, for so long, for decades, for decades, Alabama, Mississippi
I

Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee.

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I I ve seen their faces. thing on fast track.

We need to do what we can to put this

Your Honor, when we signed that settlement agreement we said: Well, within a year we should be wrapping this thing up.

Here we are in September, welre just having a fairness hearing, and welre heading into the year 2012. first case. We haven't processed the

We need to put aside our differences, do the right

thing for the farmers, and put this thing on fast track so the farmers can get on with their lives. I welcome all those to file different lawsuits for those who have been left out of the different facets, of those original farmers in the first lawsuit. Let's get something in Let's take a look We

court and maybe we can take a look at that.

at another piece for those who have been left out of this. may need to look at that. off.

But Your Honor, let's not put justice Letls do the right thing now:

Letts not put justice off.

Compensate those who are eligible i and those who are not eligible
I

then let it be what it is. And for the issue of fraud. I don't know one black

20 21 22 23 24 25

farmer in America I in America, that didn I t walk into the United States Department of Agriculture and was not treated less than dirt, not one. So when I hear people talk about fraud, let me Fraud was enslaving people. Slavery

tell you what fraud is; was fraud.

Fraud was sharecropping, when you didn't pay the Thatis fraud. Butit is not fraud

person that did the work.

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for a person who is treated less than dirt by the united States Department of Agriculture, wanting to go through that process and not be treated fairly. So that's what I have to say to the

cynics and the critics when I read about those things, Your Honor. And they put my name on those conservative blogs, where one time I received 40 death threats. And I went out my house,

out my door along about midnight - some strange things happen at midnight - and this man said, ITJohn,your cows are out. IT And I opened the door, and he had a hood on, Your Honor, and he stuck that rifle in my mouth. And when I began to call around -- I

don I t know what I wanted to happen, but I called around to the different attorneys and I told them about the death threats, an it's all this, ITJustcall the sheriff .II So I want this court to know today, Your Honor, I put it all on the line for this case. family. I put it on the line for my I put it

I put it on the line for the Black Farmers. LetTs do the right thing and Thank you very much.

on the line for history. compensate these farmers. THE COURT:

Thank you, Mr. Boyd. Good afternoon, Your Honor. May it

MS. McCURTY: please the Court. opportunity to -THE COURT:

22 23
24

Thank you for affording our coalition the

Could you just announce your name for the

25

court reporter before you start?

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MS. McCURTY:

Oh, I'm sorry.

Tracy Lloyd McCurty.

An

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

it's T-R-A-C-Y, L-L-O-Y-D, M-C-C-U-R-T-Y. Thank you for affording thank you for affording our coalition the opportunity to speak on behalf of the members and the constituents we serve. My name is Tracy Lloyd McCurty, and I'm a practicing attorney and a policy advisor for the Rural Coalition, an alliance of over 60 community-based farming organizations that has worked for over 30 years to dismantle institutional barriers that have precluded historically underserved and limited-resource farmers and ranchers from accessing federal agricultural programs and services. The Rural Coalition and our diverse members, partners, and allies urge the Court to strive toward a more equitable settlement for African-American producers that have suffered immeasurably for decades from the discriminatory practices and institutional culture at the united States Department of Agriculture. We fully support the recommendations that were submitted to the Court by our allied organization, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund. In

addition to these recommendations, we urge the Court to also consider including some of the distinctive recommendations that were incorporated into the Keepseagle consent decree,

specifically with respect to the establishment of a USDA

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ombudsperson and of a lone counsel. We contend that the final settlement for all African-American farmers who have suffered the long-term and collective impact of USDA discriminatory systems and practices would be more equitable should the settlement include specific reference to the USDA ombudsperson for native and other sociall disadvantaged farmers and ranchers created in the Keepseagle settlement. And, if a loan council for African-American farmers

was also established, similar to that stipulated in the
Keepseagle

settlement for Native American farmers. settlement, the USDA

11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

As noted in the Keepseagle

ombudsperson would serve as a point of contact for socially disadvantaged farming and ranching communities, to track civil rights complaints, and address any related programmatic issues. Under the terms of that settlement, the ombudsperson already is designed to include the concerns of all socially disadvantaged producers, including African-American producers. We recommend that the creation of the USDA ombudsperso be specifically incorporated into the final settlement agreement, and that African-American producers have a designate channel of access to remain informed of its status and to participate in its formation and operation. We further recommend that the settlement include the establishment of a council for African-American farming and ranching similar to the one established for Native American

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producers under the

Keepseagle

settlement.

The council should

be comprised of African-American producers, community-based representatives, Farm Service Agency and USDA officials, and charged with ensuring that the farm loan programs are implemented in a manner that fully recognizes the specific needs of African-American farmers and ranchers. Ideally, the USDA ombudsperson and this proposed council for African-American farming and ranching would be directed to collaborate on a regular basis with a similar Native American council and a recently formed minority farmers advisor committee, in order to provide and obtain invaluable information regarding the effectiveness of USDA outreach efforts to African-American producers, and all other socially disadvantage producers. We further recommend that the settlement agreement specifically compel USDA agencies serving African-American and other socially disadvantaged producers to fully use all current authorities to increase accountabilitYI including to regularly collect and to provide the affirmative entity, racial, ethnic, and gender participation rate data required under section 1406 of the Food and Agriculture Act of 2008, and to also utilize this data as required under Section 1407 of that Act to proactively access civil rights compliance -- assess, excuse me, civil rights compliance, and to investigate strategies to improve participation of African-American producers in all

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programs servicing producers. We further recommend that USDA agree in cooperation with the National Agriculture Statistics Service and the economic research service to provide accurate and updated data, including a comprehensive report on the current status and economic contributions of African-American producers. The

Economic Research Service in particular has not completed any analysis of the economic importance of African-American producers; and, consistent with Section 1405 of the Food and Agriculture Act of 2008, should be compelled to do so at this time, to collect baseline data and allow assessment of the impact of moving from the resolution of past wrongs to the possibility of proactive actions to restore a small portion of what has been lost. In this time of economic uncertainty, African-American producers have been asked to accept insufficient monetary compensation to resolve longstanding discrimination claims ofte instead of the resources and program support necessary to rebuild their land base and retain the remaining numbers of African-American producers. We fUrther urge the Court to address this inequity by considering what this settlement could compel and later monitor in terms of using current authority to provide preferred and subsidized access by African-American and other socially disadvantaged producers to inventory property already held by

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USDA, and in terms of resources that could be allocated through credit unions and other community financial institutions, to finance land retention, land access, and innovations necessary to support viable family farms for the community. The incorporation of these minor programmatic modifications into the propose settlement agreement by using authorities not available when the Pigford 1 consent decree was approved would serve as a positive step in addressing not only the alarming black rural land loss that occurred over the last century, but also to seek to stabilize and increase the dwindling number of black farmers that are still cultivating the land, and to rebuild the land base of this community. We feel the modifications we have offered outline practical steps to address some of the concerns that have been raised to us by our members and constituents. We urge you to

consider these recommendations in your judicial task of rendering justice for African-American producers. The

Rural Coalition, in collaboration with the following organizations, has endorsed this prepared statement: The Rural Coalition, Washington, D.C.; Land Loss Prevention Project, Durham, North Carolina; Farm Worker Association of Florida, Apopka, Florida; National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association, Washington, D.C.; Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Operation Spring Plant, Inc., Henderson, North Carolina; Rural Advancement

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Fund, Orangeburg, South Carolina i World Farmers Lancaster, Massachusetts. Thank you.

I

Inc.,

Your Honor, with the Court1s permission, I move to have the Rural Coalition I s prepared statement entered into the final record. THE COURT: MS. McCURTY: THE COURT: one question. It will be in the record; It will be? Okay, thank you.

8

Before you sit down, I have one comment an

9 10 11 12 13
14
1.5

One is, some of what you propose, there mayor

may not be anything I can do anything about, in view of the four corners of the settlement agreement. Some of what you propose, however; might be something that you could suggest to the Department of Agriculture itself. And what I would suggest, having skimmed your letter which you handed to me -- there are two documents you handed to me from the Rural Coalition. yesterday. One is dated today and one is dated

16 17
18 19

Do you have extra copies with you? Yes. I would suggest that during the next break,

MS. McCURTY: THE COURT:

20 21 22 23 24 25

go introduce yourself to the general counsel of the USDA, give her copies of these two letters, and let her look at them and talk to her colleagues. something informally. You might be able to accomplish

I don I t know.

Secondly, before you sit down, in addition to these tw documents from the Rural Coalition, you handed me a packet of

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1 2
3

papers from Gloria Edwards. you want me to? MS. McCURTY:

Do you want to speak to that, or do

Yes, Your Honor.

That packet was

4 5 6
7
8

actually from the beautiful sister that spoke prior THE COURT: me at the same time. MS. McCURTY: MS. SMITH: Smith. THE COURT: MS. SMITH: Ms. Smith .. And I'm here today on behalf of Thank you. My name is Joyce A. Oh
l

I'm sorry.

I thought they came up to

How are you-all?

9
10 11 12

Lucinda MacNuckle (ph), Pearl W. Harris, and Willy James MacNuckle. All three is family members and was farmers. I lost

13
14

Lucinda MacNuckle in 1998, and I lost Pearl W. Harris in 1989, and I lost Willy MacNuckle in 1986. one to come today. I'm from West Point, Mississippi, and I met Mr. John Boyd at Starkville, Mississippi. mother, she had 15 kids. And I f eL t like -- m So I'm sure I had to be the

15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24

Her and Roosevelt Simms, my father, Okay?

they had farmed before I was born, and I'm 48 years old.

Later on in life, in 1979, they saved up enough money to purchase their own FHA home and farmland. out with soybeans. So they started

They didn't have enough money for equipment,

so they used their boss' equipment, which was the Jetson (ph) brothers.

25

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And later on from then they farmed for like seven to eight years, did pretty good. Then the weather started taking

effect of the land and the crop, so they sought out to get mone from USDA to help out. It took three of them to go and sign up

for money, and they was turned down. But they didn't give up, so they had to wind up going to private loaners, and that made the debt more harder because it was more interest to be paid. When you have a house full of

kids and you're trying to farm on your own, you just get the paper how to do the calculation of what you'll come out with. And courtroom
I I

basically want to state that earlier in the

was listening to the young lady said, "opting out. II
I

The reason why when
I

would agree with her on opting out, because

signed up in Starkville, Mississippi, for some reason my So what would
I

information on my relatives got lost. Could you tell me what would I do? you just give up and say:

do? Would
My

Or what would you do?

Well, they lost my information?

parents really wasn't worth nothing no way, so I'm just going to not do anything? So I'm here today from West Point.
I

20 21 22 23 24 25

drove up Tuesday, But I need

16 hours, and I felt like I'll go another 16 hours.

someone to listen to my point of view when it comes to this settlement. I sat down and I did the math. And I said, IIWell,

even if my parents only made 25 to 35 thousand dollars a year over a 10-year period, they still is worth more than $250,000.

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And they farmed for over 30 decades (sic).

I mean, you know, if

2 3 4 5 6
7 8

the president or the Congress set a~ide 1.25 billion, to me that seems more than enough money to be split amongst a group of 150,000 farmers. If you give each farmer a million dollars,

you're still left with 800-some million dollars for lawyers and all other fees, unless I can't calculate right. THE COURT: MS. SMITH: thing to start over.
50,000
1

Well, if you divide It just seems like -- I don't want this I want everybody who want to get the But I felt like I

9
10

who want to get the 250, to get it.

11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

had to come and say what was on my mind.

And if I don't live to

get it, I do want my chiIdren to get it, because my mother played a major part in their life, and my father. And like I said, just to see what an economic downfall can do to a family, because when they lost their farmhouse, the came knocking at my door, and I had a one-bedroom apartment. And that downfall of their house burning up, therefore I had to take my mother and grandmother in. another way. Now, my father, he went

But they split up about him not having money or their -- that's all they ever did

able to get money to carryon was farm.

So my mother and grandmother and brother lived with me until the day they died. When they lost their home, some people And

just go down, they get depressed, stressed, depressed. that's just the way it was.

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1

I donlt have a whole lot of paperwork. it.

11m working on

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

But I just want to say that, you know, I appreciate what But look into the situation a

theylre trying to do for us.

little deeper, and see what can be done to really help those people who want to continue the legacy of their family farms an hold on to it. And 11m not going to take long because 11m going to have to get back on the road. here tOday. But I was so proud to come up

I work at the state of Mississippi mental hospital, I had just started in February, and they They said, "You do an

and they got my back.

said, "Su.r, Joyce, take off a week. II e excellent job. II the same thing? II

They said, "Are you needing some workers to do

So I got in there and got some extra help and showed the new workers, and I put it in the hands of the Lord, and I came on up here to try to represent my mother, brother, and my grandmother and my father. My father have Parkinson IS. He

participated in the first settlement, and hels very weary of traveling. But like I say, therels so much I can say, but I donlt want to hold up everything. contact.
I

And I will be trying to keep in

And if there s a way possible, those people Whose

information, who came and stood in line to sign up for this claim, make it a way where they can be into the settlement. Because it is so many people in West Point found out I

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was coming, and they wanted me to "Show some for me." work like that because way possible
I

It don't

it have to be on paper.

But if there's a

we need to be into this settlement .. Okay. Thank you, sir. Thank you, Ms. Smith. I appreciate it.

THE COURT: MS. SMITH: THE COURT:

7
8

This gentleman MR. BISHOP: name is Melvin Bishop. the president Incorporation

has been waiting a long time. Thank you very much. B-I-S-H-O-P. My I'm

Good evening.

9 10 11 12
1

That's M-E-L-V-I-N,

of the African-American in Eatonton, Georgia.

Family Farmers

From what I been hearing
mel

this morning,

it indicates

to

13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

where there's no justice,

there be no peace.

You can feel

it from every person that came up and spoke. But I've got a couple of questions I just want to add throughout of The next

from the farmer that I have been representing Georgia. injustice

From the Pigford lawsuit there was a portion relief. I have seen that been implemented.

one, the land laws from where the farmer was put in foreclosure from the discrimination returning inventory cases
l

they hadn't been made whole by in

our land or giving them other land somewhere to make up that difference.

We need to not continue

this kind of, I guess, justice. right, let's make it all right. leave the other part undone.

If welre going to make it Donlt just fix part of it and

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The one request I want to ask - and I know itls going to be kind of difficult but 11m having trouble with it - I'm working at the local high school, trying to get some young men to work with me on training them how to become a farmer, or what they need to do to get interested in farming. We need to have a

global impact on trying to get young people to continue to farm Ifore the older people pass away. THE COURT: Thank you very much.

8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Thank you, Mr. Bishop.

Good afternoon. MR. BEAL: Good afternoon, Judge. My name is

Obie Beal, O-B-I-E, B-E-A-L. helped put me out of business.

I was a farmer until the USDA And live listened to the lawyers

talk about difficulties and difficulties, and 11m concerned because 11m one of the original Pigford I from 1999. And I read on the Internet about some fascinating organization such as JAMS and others similar to that, and 11m concerned that JAMS helped finish up the Pigford .I, and now theylre fixing to take on no less than 75,000 claims. THE COURT: MR. BEAL: Say that again? No less than 75,000 claims. Therels going

to be that many, I can assure you of that.

If JAMS could not

take care of 22,000 claims over a 10-year period, how are they going to take care of 75,000 claims? THE COURT: I think Mr. Marks will probably try to

answer your question when he stands up again.

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MR. BEAL:

Well, Michael Lewis, it's my understanding,

2 3
4 5

had plenty of help, but my claim, filed in 1999, still sits on his desk pending. THE COURT: MR. BEAL: Track B? Track B, while he's waiting to handle other

6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

claims which was from 1999. Now, you don't have to be a mathematician to figure this one out. And I'm concerned about the counsel saying maybe Now, I know

by 2013 they going to have all this taken care of.

that most of the counsel, and I'm not putting down the counsel, most of them are new in this ball game. from 1999 aren't here. THE COURT: MR. BEAL: A few of them are. A few, yeah. They're here because one of The original counsel

them came to Georgia and I signed the paperwork for him to come back and file a class action down at Fort Valley State University. So you have a few of them here. But I just canlt

figure out, how are they going to handle 75,OOO-plus claims in 24 months, and they couldn't do 22,000 over 10 years? And getting on to the tax problem. Judge Friedman, if Some Of

you read all of the monitor report, this is ridiculous.

the farmers that prevailed was killed by the tax problem because the people who were supposed to make sure that was done, they still haven't figured it out today. If you read the monitor's

last report, last year, they still working on the tax problem.

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Judge Friedman, I was on an F-15 fighter plane, a $25 million piece of equipment. we can get it resolved. When we have a problem with it,

2 3 4
5 6

In 30 days we going to know what the

problem is, and in 90 days we going to have that plane back in the air. I'm surprised that counsel have always said: working on it, we're working on it. One thing
I

We're

7 8
9

admire about

USDA is, USDA can distribute $45 billion to American farmers every single year because they have the names and the mailing addresses of those farmers. was involved in Pigford Every African-American farmer that

10 11 12 13 14 15
16

from 1999 through today, he has his name

and mailing address in Pigford. Maybe the counsel should contract with USDA to handle the paperwork. it every year. USDA do it every year. I'm for them. They do

Go to USDA web site, it's public information. Mr. Beal,
I

THE COURT:

think they're just delighted t

17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

hear somebody say something nice about them. MR. BEAL: The counsel can contract -- pay them their

$38 million, then make them contract with USDA so it can be done quickly and swiftly. resources to do it. plain paperwork. And the other thing about the opt-out. I want to than Because USDA has the manpower, the They do it every year. You know, itTs just

all of the counsel, class counsel, other counsel who forced me to order the Manual For Complex Litigation,
Fourth Edition,

the

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0

1
2

hardback,

not

the for

paperback. the last

While I been waiting
10 years

on the I

administrators

to process

my paperwork,

3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11

had to go back and learn law dictionary. claim,

to read. they

I had to go buy me a Black's were procrastinating with my

And while books.

I was in the

I hope you approve everyone possible
I

the

class

action, case.

and I hope If it can be I

get

their

farm, out.
I

but

I'm a rare afraid

I can opt

I'm not

of the

law anymore. stands

know what the

book says it. let

I know where my claim my counsel

wi th USDA, out

and I can handle
10 years

Because

got me strung

--

well,

me back up. that was court appointed. How I me to

12
13

I used to have counsel got lost, I don't in D. C., know. and the case

My counsel

in Alabama transferred Well,

14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22

counsel

counsel anymore
1

in D. C. said: and left

we don't

have to handle But that wasn't

your

me on my own, pro se. Manual For Complex float now, I

a problem,

because

I had the

Li tiga tion

and my Westlaw dictionary.

And I don't

can swim. And as it and get get then it over out; farmers allowed relates It's to USDA, contract long overdue. going If with not, the counselors to an

with.

it! s going

strung the

Because going that.

somebody is

to make mistakes, and we're

to want to come back and sue,

23 24 25

not being

So I hope you approve have done their duty with every

this

lawsuit

l

but

not until
I.

JAMS Because

farmer

under

Pigford

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there are still farmers uncter Pigford I that JAMS have not satisfied, anct that is ridiculous, Judge Friedman. That is

totally ridiculous. Thank you very much. THE COURT: MR. ZIPPERT: represent Thank you, Mr. Beal. I am John Zippert, of Southern Z-I-P-P-E-R-T, and I

7 8 9 10 11 12
\'

the Federation

Cooperatives

at our rural

training and research

center in Epes, Alabam;a.

And I I m also of the

proud to say that I'm on the board of directors Rural Coalition. time to Mr. Paige. And we appreciate,

Judge, your giving so much

But he asked me to come up in this period some things that he felt were important. he wantect me to speak to the community based organizations in

and sort of reiterate

13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 recognize important

And in particular

role of experienced effort.

this settlement

And our organization

has been involved we have been

in this case since the beginning.

As he expressed,

working on these issues with USDA for over four decades, and we have been doing outreach, education, and recruitment of people;

we have been doing technical with their claims.

assistance;

we have assisted people

And our goal, of course, is, at the end of stay in

the day, to help those farmers who are in business business, and to help new farmers to get started. So I think it's important

to this settlement

to

the role of community based organizations

with

experience,

and to provide us a strong role in this settlement.

Rebecca

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Secondly, it seems as though, from all that has been said here -- and in our statement we pushed for appeals, we pushed for more time -- that the ombudsman will be key. And I

think the role of the ombudsman should be strengthened as much as possible. I know you said that it was constrained by the

funds, but I think that the ombudsman will be needed to deal with many of the ongoing problems in this case. And lastly, I would just point out that the Federation's interest is to see every black farmer who needs to be in this case to be in this case and to get justice from this case. But if you do a little mathematics, there's one billion.

11m thinking 100 million for all of the costs; that leaves $1,150,000,000 to be used to pay the farmers. that number by 62,500, that's 18,400. than 18,400, qualified claims THE COURT: You mean more than 62,0007 If you have If you divide

If we had more claims

more claims than 62,000, then the number -MR. ZIPPERT: THE COURT: I divided 62,500 into one billion - -

And you got $18,400, right? No, 18,400 claims at 62,S.

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MR. ZIPPERT: THE COURT:

I see what youlre saying. So if the number of claims goes above And I guess my

MR. ZIPPERT:

that, the amount of money starts to decline.

question in this whole thing, and I asked this of the Secretary of Agriculture when he announced the settlement: At what point

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would that not be justice?

You know, how high does that number At what point is that not

go, how low does the payoff go? justice?

So 11m looking at that welre going to have to go back to Congress anyway to address some of this. of this turns out. Let's see how all

But 11m thinking, eventually we may have to

go back to Congress, and I hope we have a better Congress than we have today. But 11m thinking welre going to have to go back

to Congress to really get full justice if welre going to include everybody who wants to be included. Keep in mind the importance of community based organizations, strengthening the ombudsman for some kind of appeal
J

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some way to deal with errors.

And keep in mind that we

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want to include every farmer in this settlement. THE COURT: Well, it would be great. In order to only

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do this -- welve already done it once for 10 years; welre now going to do it, second go-around, for a year and a half or so, two years, if I can believe what's being suggested. So the best way to deal with what youlre proposing, but maybe not very realistic, is to go back to Congress now and get more moneYJ third time. because otherwise Welre going to have to do it a And I can almost guarantee, if we have to do it a

third time, and I canlt speak for anybody else in this courtroom, but I think Mr. Sitcov and I will be gone. have had enough by then. We will

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Mr. Sitcov from the Justice Department threatening to retire since about halfway

has been

through the last I'm

claims process.

But he's still here, and 11m still here.

being a little bit facetious. MR. ZIPPERT: with the Congress I started at the age of 19 as a voluntee in Louisiana.

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of Racial Equality

THE COURT: MR. ZIPPERT: my beard was black.

And you're older than 19 now, I think. I'm afraid so. But I understand When I started this case, all of that. 11m just

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we're not giving up, is what I'm saying. that for all the people who are here.

I just want to say

There are people in this

audience who likely will be le.ft out, and so THE COURT: will be substantially equivalent right. MR. ZIPPERT: there: I guess there is a question of justice Well, either left out, or the dollar amount less than the $62,500 that would make the in Pigford I. And you're absolutel

to what happened

At what point does that become unjust? I just wanted to -- Mr. Paige asked me to raise these

things, and I wanted to put them in the record. THE COURT: Thank you very much, Mr. Zippert. Come on up.

Who is still with us who wants to speak? MS. HUGHES: my name Pauline Hughes THE COURT: To this court, Honorable --

Judge Friedman,

You need to speak into the mic.

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MS. HUGHES: Friedman,My

Okay.

To this court, Honorable P-A-U-L-I-N-E,

Judge

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name is Pauline Hughes,

H-U-G-H-E-S.

This is my husband Johnny Hughes, J-O-H-N-N-Y, THE COURT: MS. HUGHES: nothing Good afternoon. Judge Friedman,

H-U-G-H-E-S.

I hadn't planned

to say it's

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today, didn't want to take up no more time, because

already been said by all the people that been here and spoke to you tOday. My husband and me got married at 19 years old, I

was, and he was 21.

We been married over 57 years. 1999 Pigford this lawsuit.

My husband filed Track B in the original case r
Pigford

D.

He done had three strokes behind

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When he first went to Farmers Home, we just had gotten married. He was in the logging businessr have anything tried to raise cows, and didn't He want to They told

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because we didn I t have anything.

Farmers Home to try to get a home for his operation. him they do not f i.nanoe start a person ,

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to farm - he wasn't farming.

farming - but they would assist you if you was already

He worked in the woods, bought a little calf for five dollars eachr and that's how he got started. He went back to

Fanners Home and asked him to assist. for $500. Not much.

He needed a little loan even the in the woods,

He put up all his equipmentr for $500. He worked

furniture out of the house,

paid the loan back, paid the farm bill back. He went back to the Farmers Home and asked for another little loan to buy some more cows, because we got started t hen ,

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because we bought a little dairy cow. him -- he told him what he had. them?

The Farmers Home man tol

He asked him, how did he get

He said/ "You told me that you didnlt start farmers/ I worked in the woods and bought these The Farmers

beginning farmers.

little calves / and now I want to buy more cows. II Home man told him he couldn't do it.

So he had to call to Montgomery, to the main office, t get that little loan. When the man came in from Montgomery, the

loan office, him and Mr. Sewell (ph), he was the county supervisor. He and the man for Montgomery went to the side
I

because they didn t want him to hear what they was going to tell Johnny. They didn I t want Johnny to hear the story, the

conversation. So they made him a little loan for $10,000 for 18 months, when most farmers have seven years to pay on a cow loan. But he had to pay it back in 18 months. He did that.

I'm sorry, I taking up the time, but 11m going to tell the stor if you allow me the time. He went back and asked him about a loan. said -- come on and help me with it. little bit. so clear. Mr. Sewell

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Come on, you can talk a

He done had two or three strokes, so his voice not So 11m speaking for him, but I might not be saying

everything exactly like it was. Anyway, he told Mr. Sewell what Mr. Sewell had told him: That he di dn 't start farmers, new beginner farmers.

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1

Mr. Sewell said,

II

I remember telling you that. II

Okay?

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So over the time, a period of time, welre together a little bit, he bought a little 22 acres of land that we have now, Okay? So he went back to the Farmers Home, asked for It I S in our statement. Ever since we went Track B,

another loan.

We went Track B.

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Mr. Little, L-I-T-T-L-E, he even been fighting us from the first beginning of the lawsuit. He would call our witness and ask

them; whatever he want them to say, he would call them and tell them that he going to send him the papers, the words, and they write it down and notarize it and sign it and send it back to him. Okay? And we need a chance to get back -- we was in the original lawsuit. We was denied in the Pigford. We got denied. He been fighting us all the way. We got documents on it.

So we got all the documents and our records, and we need our money. My husband had three strokes, working and worrying about

this lawsuit, because he was treated wrong, unjust, from the hand of USDA. peoples
I

We didn I t get the opportunity as to other Okay?

I would say white farmers. You can talk. MR. HUGHES:

We didn't have the right support from the We didn't get

lawyers,

We were denied, from the monitor said.

our papers -MS, HUGHES: Okay, 1111 take it up. We were denied

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from the monitor, whatever her name. this been 11 years. late.

We was one day late, and

This been 11 years ago, and we was one day And look

And we was denied for one day late, Pigford I.

how many years in the Pigford I.

And now you trying to start a

Pigford II, and Pigford I ain't never been paid? We from the original lawsuit. document is true. Everything in our Mr. Zippert is our He know it.

We not telling no lie.

witness back there.

He just got up here and spoke.

He even wrote a declaration to support my husband. Mr. Zippert had a meeting at the Federation with Michael Lewis and two more the peoples from Farmers, from the

USDA.. My husband was there.. He complained, so Mr. Zippert had a question and answer session. My husband complained to the

people from USDA, and they told him they would get back with hi right there in front of Mr. Zippert. And do you know, when they denied my husband, they sai that -- whoever turned him down said they didn't believe they was there. And Mr. Zippert got records that they was there, but

they don't believe it. So that's what kind of lawsuit, and what is -- whoever is the adjustor who determine the case, that's the response that we get. We had two little granddaughters; they went for the youth loan. Both of them case was the same thingi one got paid So how is that? They had the same

and the other one didn't.

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identical he worked

case.

So the man wrote the case up, Bobby Engle

(ph),

for the Tuskegee;

got the loan, wrote the case up, an

they got the loan.

One got paid and the other one didn't. Your Honor, I do not have his all the

So Judge Friedman, paperwork here with me.

But we clrove up here Tuesday,

way from Green County, Eutaw, Alabama, and Obie Beal.

with Ms. Bernice Atchiso This make the

It's not cheap on the road.

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or fourth time that welve been up here about this lawsuit, trying to get justice. And where isj ustice? Where isj ustice? to tr

Itfs cost us, and everybody to come here to get justice. man? MR. HUGHES: opportunity. sir?

else that come long distance, Where is justice

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for the black

Judge, thank you for giving us this

And could we have a record of this court, please,

Is that possible? THE COURT: MR. HUGHES: Sure. Our address is 588 Alabama Highway 39,

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Eutaw, Alabama,

35462.

Thank you-all very much.

THE COURT:

Say your address one more time, to make

sure we have it correctly. MS. HUGHES: The address is 588 Alabama - Alabama, E-U-T-A-W. Highway 39,

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Eutaw - that's E-U-T-A-W

And Judge Friedman,

I donlt have his tracking number
t

with me, but .i.t'.s over here to the hotel, and we back. We would like your consideration,

Ll,

mail you And

and thank you.

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thank you for your time. MR. HUGHES: MS. HUGHES: number. Thank you very mUCh, Judge. Ms. Bernice Atchison have the tracking

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We worked on our Case all night, worked on it all

night, been working on it ever since 12 years ago, and still working on it and can't get justice. THE COURT: MS. HUGHES: number 21584. THE COURT: MS. HUGHES: THE COURT: Who's next? Thank you very much. Thank you for your time. Thank you very much. Then we need to take a break soon. Your Honor, thank you very much for Thank you. What's the number?

Johnny Hughes' tracking number is claim

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MR. STRANAHAN: your time.

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My name is Lee -I object to him speaking. I'm not sure who he is, Mr. Boyd. It r s L-E-E,

MR. BOYD: THE COURT:

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MR. ST.RANAHAN: My name is Lee Stranahan. S-T-R-A-N-A-H-A-N. THE COURT: 11m a writer and filMmaker.

I don't think we need to hear from the This hearing is to listen to

This is for claimants.

those who object to the settlement because they have an interest in the settlement. Are you a farmer, or are you representing a

farmer's organization? MR. STRANAHAN: No, sir. For nine months I've been

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working on the Pigford story, and I've interviewed THE COURT: read about it. Okay. Well, you can write about it, and we'll all

Thank you for being here. Who's next? My order was very clear, that we're

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hearing from claimants, potential claimants, farmer's organizations, and people who had expressed their intention, for the most part, in advance. came in late. I admit there are a few people that And Mr. Boyd was

Mr. Boyd's father came in late.

clearly told the parameters of what he could speak about. You know, you can read my court orders as to how this hearing was to be structured. And I don't think that anybody

has spoken here today that doesn't meet the parameters of that court order. If I'm wrong, somebody can tell me. But I've

taken very careful notes, and I think everybody who has spoken here today is within the parameters of my court order as to what this fairness hearing is about: It's about listening to farmers; it's about listening to claimants and potential claimants; it's about listening to farmer's organizations; and it's about listening to those who either support this settlement or object to portions of this settlement. And I don't mean to cut anybody off, but I think the orders of the Court were clear as to what the purpose of this hearing was. As I said, there are at least two people who

expressed an intention of speaking who I said were out of bounds

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in terms of the what they wanted to speak about.

One is a

representative of Mr. Chestnut's estate, and I said this is not the place for that. And the other was Mr. Boyd. And I said,

"Mr. Boyd, you can speak about some things but not about other things.II And from my perspective, Mr. Boyd abided by the

constraints that were put upon him. Sir? MR. COLEMAN: W. James Coleman. Good afternoon, Your Honor. My name is I'm out

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That is W, J-A-M-E-S, C-O-L-E-M-A-N.

of Carroll County, Mississippi. be a black farmer in Mississippi.

It's not really good trying to

I'm here on behalf of my family, the deceased as well as the living. We have been farmers for over 100 years. We

have owned substantial acreage of property and homes in Carroll County, and at the tune of about 800 to 1000 acres of land, which over the years, due to not being able to acquire loan, have dwindled to about 400 acres, which have not been farmed in the last 10 years or maybe a little longer, again due to not being able to get farm loans. Everyone here has spoken today with stories that touches me. I love farming. That was my life and livelihood.

It is so sad that we are the only race that have tilled the soil for as many years as we have, and the only race that haven't been able to get the monies to continue farming. I am a bona fide, certified farmer. I have used and

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incorporated every kind of herbicide, pesticide that is on the market. I am a hillbilly. I live off on the flat lands of the

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the knowledge I had of tilling the soil. I would like to say something else. Back in 1993,

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August of 1993, when President Bill Clinton selected -appointed Congressman Mike Espy of Mississippi to become the head of -- Secretary of Agriculture, I stood in the Greenwood High School auditorium, packed with farmers from allover south, and addressed the issue of systemic racism and discrimination throughout the USDA, all that I had went through in applying for loans. At that point in time he assured me, when he took post here in Washington, that he would address that issue. After the

about two ~onths, I tried to contact him, never could make contact with him. office in Jackson. I decided I would go to the Mississippi EEOC When I mentioned the fact that I wanted to

file a claim against the USDA, it was kind of like the vice president recently said: I crazy? I was also referred to the Little Rock division of the EEOC. And 11m living in Mississippi, and see if anyone there I blew heads off. They asked me, was

would accept a clai~ or pay claim on me filing a claim against

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the USDA. That fell by the wayside
I

but I just wanted to be know
I

that before the Pigford and Glickman lawsuit came about

I had

personally addressed this issue to the incoming secretarYI again which was Mike Espy, and I never heard anything from himl from that day to this one. And 11m going to leave with this. justice delayed is justice denied. that. I always been told

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WeIll I have lived to see

Because to delay this lawsuit is being, 11m denied and Thank you. THE COURT: Thank you, Mr. Coleman.

delayed.

Now, this woman in the back has been waiting for some time, and then I think we should take a break. After you speak. Youlve been

I wouldnlt take a break without hearing from you. waiting too long.

Would you lower the microphone a little bit? Oh, sure. Okay. 11m having a fight with

MS. PRICE: bronchitis.

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The name is Marie Murline, M-U-R-L-I-N-E -- therels a Veronica in there. Louisiana. The last name, Price, St. Martin Parish,

And I also just came in last night, and I wanted to

do something an writing in case my voice goes. THE COURT: Yeah, I was going to say, you donlt have t

read it all, but you may. MS. PRICE: THE COURT: Staying and listening was very instructive. Okay.

25

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