Black farmer fights discrimination battle

WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) -- A black Virginia farmer is waging a long battle to remedy years of alleged discrimination by U.S. agriculture officials, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

The newspaper said John Boyd of the National Black Farmers Association is haunting the halls of Congress on behalf of 70,000 black farmers who say they are owed $2.5 billion by the United States, more than eight years after he began his crusade.


On a recent day, Boyd planted soybean seeds on a 116-acre tract of land near South Hill, Va., then changed into a pinstriped suit and black cowboy boots, drank a bit of coffee, picked up a copy of the congressional directory and headed to Washington, the newspaper said.

On the drive, he told the Post that for many years he applied to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for operating loans but was always denied or delayed, and in one case, a white loan officer tore up Boyd's application in his face and cursed at him.

"That was the first time in my life that I actually felt helpless," Boyd told the newspaper. "It's really worse than a fistfight, because in a fistfight I can get a few licks in."


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