The National Black Farmers Association is meeting in Columbia this weekend. The 23rd annual meeting starts Friday.
The organization will be focusing on future membership, including efforts to get black youth interested in farming. The two-day conference will also commemorate payments going out to black farmers under a federal settlement over claims of decades of discrimination by the Department of Agriculture in how it awarded loans and other aid. About 18,000 black farmers are getting payments of $50,000 each, plus $12,500 to cover their tax liability.
President Barack Obama signed legislation in December 2010 that provided nearly $1.2 million to black farmers. It marked the second round of funding from a class-action lawsuit originally settled in 1999.