Dear Women Farmers:
As the lead counsel in the Love v. Johanns litigation, I am writing concerning a legislative proposal that should be of interest to you. After years of litigation, a number of women farmers have expressed an interest in trying to reach an out of court settlement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Love v. Johanns case. An out of court settlement was reached in 1999 in the case involving African–American farmers, commonly known as the Pigford case. So far, however, the Love v. Johanns case remains unresolved.
The Love v. Johanns litigation is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia where another round of written briefs was recently requested by the judge. The resolution of the Love litigation is perhaps years away, delaying any decision for women farmers who have faced past USDA discrimination. I am a firm believer in the phrase “Justice delayed is justice denied” and fear that these further court proceedings will only serve to delay justice for women farmers.
You may have heard from recent news accounts that there is a provision in the 2007 Farm Bill referencing this litigation and a copy of it is attached. This provision expresses the Sense of Congress that the USDA should settle this case quickly. However, based upon past experience, I believe that the provision must be stronger or we will continue to be ignored by USDA. A promise of a good crop doesn’t mean one will happen and the same is true with USDA promises.
I have been working on stronger legislative language to be added to the Farm Bill that would be more likely to result in a settlement to benefit women farmers. I am pleased to note that attorneys representing Hispanic farmers have agreed to joint language to encourage settlement of both cases. I have enclosed a copy of this stronger language for your review.
However, I need your help to add this provision to the Farm Bill. Your Senators need to hear from you that you support the provision and want it added to the Farm Bill or any other farm legislation.
I’m asking that you please take ten minutes of your day today in order to send a short letter to your Senators about the issue and your support of the legislative provision. You can use the enclosed sample template or write your own letter. Either way, address your personal letters to your Senators and mail or fax them to me so I can hand deliver them to Capitol Hill. Time is of the essence as the Senate is this week debating the Farm bill.
You can find the names of your Senators from your state at the following link: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm.
Your letters should be addressed to the two Senators from your state at the following address:
Thank you in advance for your help in encouraging Congress to do the right thing, and feel free to speak with other women and local farm groups about this case and the legislative proposal.