On a recent Sunday in rural Macon, N.C., John W. Boyd Jr., the president of the National Black Farmers Association, went to his fourth funeral in a week.
Mr. Boyd has been burying his group’s members with bitter frequency, attending two or three funerals most weeks. Each death makes him feel as if he is running out of time.
Wrangling over the federal budget in Washington has delayed payouts from a $1.25 billion settlement that Mr. Boyd and several others helped negotiate with the federal government to compensate black farmers who claimed that the Agriculture Department had discriminated against them in making loans.
“I thought that the elderly farmers would get their money and get to live a few happy days of their lives,” Mr. Boyd, a Virginia farmer who is not a plaintiff in the settlement, said in an interview. “They deserve the money before they leave God’s earth.”