RDLN Graduate and Board Vice Chair Shirley Sherrod was appointed Georgia Director for Rural Development by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on July 25. Only days earlier, she learned that New Communities, a group she founded with her husband and other families (see below) has won a thirteen million dollar settlement in the minority farmers law suit Pigford vs Vilsack.
In announcing the appointment of Shirley and other new officials, Secretary Vilsack said that “These individuals will be important advocates on behalf of rural communities in states throughout the country and help administer the valuable programs and services provided by the USDA that can enhance their economic success.”
New Communities is due to receive approximately $13 million ($8,247,560 for loss of land and $4,241,602 for loss of income; plus $150,000 each to Shirley and Charles for pain and suffering).
There may also be an unspecified amount in forgiveness of debt. This is the largest award so far in the minority farmers law suit (Pigford vs Vilsack).