Filing Deadline for Pigford II Settlement Nears

Black farmers in eastern North Carolina are lining up to talk to lawyers about claiming part of a more than $1 billion Pigford II settlement with the federal government before time runs out. Meetings are scheduled through Saturday in Fayetteville for farmers who may be eligible to receive payments.

It’s estimated that up to 4,000 black farmers in North Carolina may be eligible for the funds because they were unfairly denied loans and other assistance by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for decades. The deadline to file claims is May 11.

NPPC Concerned About Burger King Announcement

Burger King Corporation Officials have decided to begin buying pork only from producers who don’t use gestation stalls to confine sows. The Company also decided to phase in cage free egg buying over five years. National Pork Producer Council’s Dave Warner says while Burger King has the right to make that decision – they are being bullied by HSUS – whose goal is to eliminate food animal production:

“They don’t have any concern for the hog farmers out there every day caring for their animals, they don’t have any concern for the families struggling to purchase food, and they see an increase in food prices because of farmers being forced to retrofit their barns.”

Warner says whether it’s gestation stalls or group housing – each has its advantages. He says HSUS is attempting to tell farmers how to do their job.

House Approves Small Business Credit Availability Act

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas took to the House floor in support of H.R. 3336 – the Small Business Credit Availability Act. The measure is one of six bills considered by the committee to bring balance to the Dodd-Frank rulemaking process. Lucas says the legislation will ensure community banks can continue to responsibly manage risk and provide credit to America’s small businesses.

MF Global Execs Won’t Receive Bonuses

Heeding the call of Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Pat Roberts – MF Global Trustee Louis Freeh has dropped plans to pay bonuses to MF Global executives. Stabenow says it would have been absolutely outrageous if bonuses were paid to the very people who were in charge as MF Global went bankrupt and lost its customers’ money. Stabenow notes MF Global’s bankruptcy was the eighth largest in U.S. history and resulted in a loss of as much as 1.6-billion dollars of the firm’s customers’ money. Thousands of farmers, ranchers and small business owners are still owed tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Virginia’s Century Farms Tops 1,200

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the number of so-called Century Farms hit the 1,200 mark last month. The list of new additions range from Alleghany to Westmoreland counties.

The General Assembly established the Century Farms program in 1997. To qualify, a farm must have been owned by the same family for at least 100 consecutive years.

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