Contact: John Boyd,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DEFYING FEDERAL LAW, USDA EMPLOYEE IS LOBBYING AGAINST
CONGRESSIONAL LEGISLATION THAT WOULD RESTORE LEGAL RIGHTS TO
BLACK FARMERS WHO WERE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BY THE USDA
NATIONAL BLACK FARMERS ASSOCIATION CALLS FOR USDA SECRETARY TO
IMMEDIATELY PLACE AT LEAST 38 EMPLOYEES ON LEAVE PENDING
INVESTIGATIONA PROCESS CREATED TO END RACISM IN FARM SERVICE AGENCY HAS
INSTEAD KEPT IT IN PLACE; MIX OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEE LOBBYING AND
Federal Employees See Bill as “Awful,” Concerned About “Boatload” of Work
that Will “berry us!” “We can stop this if we rise up together.” And asked to use
influence with Senators to block measure in the Senate.
2008 Campaign Threats: “I am willing to tell my Senators that I will not cast my
vote for anyone who will not stand up and do what's right instead of
worrying about being politically correct.”
WASHINGTON, DC – An e-mail circulated last Thursday among career federal
employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and obtained late Sunday by
the National Black Farmers Association, indicates these employees are being directed
to engage in lobbying Members of Congress, with oversight from a senior career official,
in efforts to ensure Black farmers never receive the justice they deserve.
John W. Boyd, Jr. the president and founder of the National Black Farmers Association,
will ask USDA Secretary Mike Johanns to place at least 38 USDA employees, including
Carolyn Cooksie, Deputy Administrator of Farm Loan Programs, on leave pending an
urgent investigation into whether their actions violate the Hatch Act and other federal
“One national disgrace inevitably leads to another,” Boyd said today. “It is not surprising
that Farm Service Agency and other USDA employees would opposed all efforts to
provide Black farmers with compensation for decades of discrimination. But to see their
anger and defiance of federal law in writing is both shocking and shameful.”
Last week the Associated Press reported the following about the measure that is now
before the Senate: “The farm bill moving through Congress would reopen a landmark
discrimination settlement that black farmers reached with the Agriculture Department
eight years ago, giving more than 70,000 claimants a new chance in court. The bill,
which passed the House Friday, could lead to a new class-action lawsuit from farmers
who missed an earlier deadline and also would open a streamlined process for farmers
to seek expedited awards capped at $50,000.
Employee efforts are apparently being coordinated with USDA’s Carolyn Cooksie,
Deputy Administrator of Farm Loan Programs, as well as numerous USDA employee
groups including the National Association of Credit Specialists, the National Association
of Support Employees of the Farm Service Agency, and agency management. Some
actions appear to violate the Hatch Act while other actions may need to be clarified by
“Is the USDA’s Deputy Administrator of Farm Loan Programs directing an illegal
lobbying campaign intended to prevent Black farmers from every receiving payments for
discrimination the USA itself admitted occurred for decades,” Boyd is asking.
An e-mail that was circulated among U.S. Farm Service Agency staff in Virginia follows:
As you all know by now, the House version of the Farm Bill will reopen the Pigford
lawsuit to allow late filers to be considered. I was really surprised by this. It makes me
wish I was not part of this agency. If I feel this way, I'm sure others do too.
NACS just spoke with Carolyn Cooksie concerning the inclusion of another Pigford Bill
attached to the House's version of the Farm Bill. She said it is "awful" and will allow
some 73,000 late filers in and we will probably have another class action suit.
The agency will be required to submit a boatload of information within 60 days of
anyone filing which will bury us! Not to mention, most of this information we don't
have. Carolyn is doing a lot of legwork in the Senate trying to stop it but NACS,
NASE, and other FSA employees need to contact their Senators and work hard to get
it stopped. The contacts need to me made before the debate starts in the Senate.
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SENATOR TODAY CONCERNING THE FOLLOWING:
- REMOVE THE TERM LIMITS ON FSA LOANS IN THE NEXT FARM BILL