(NECN/CNN) - For years now, John Boyd has divided his time between growing soybeans and pressuring Congress. Fighting for tens of thousands of black farmers like himself, discriminated against by the Department of Agriculture in the 1980s and 90s.
It takes almost 380 some odd days to process a black loan application. It takes less than 30 days to process a white loan application.
They went through hell. They went through living hell. We lost land. We lost our livelihoods, our way of life.
More than a decade ago, a federal judge ordered the government to compensate farmers for discrimination and thousands were.
But it wasn't until February that the Obama administration announced a settlement with seventy thousand more farmers. It was up to Congress to dole out more than a billion dollars in damages. After missing multiple deadlines, the Senate finally agreed Friday to pay up.
I appreciate everyone's cooperation. This has been a long, hard slog to get to where we are.
The breakthrough follows a partisan log-jam. In July, the house approved a bill that included the farmer settlement money, but the Senate failed to pass it. Republican Senator Tom Coburn stood in the way because the measure added to the deficit. After Democrats found a way to pay for the the $1.15 black farmer settlement, as well as $3.4 billion for a settlement with Native Americans, Coburn dropped his opposition.
John Boyd, who has really been the face of the black farmers in this case, said Senator Coburn himself called him up to tell him that he was on board. Now the next step for this is it goes over to the house after the Thanksgiving break. As I said before, funding for black farmers has already passed the house, so it's not expected to run into any problems there.
CNN's Brianna Keilar has the story.