DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MAY 1st: USDA’s Hispanic and Women Farmers Discrimination Claims Process

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DEADLINE EXTENDED: Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Claims Must be Filed by MAY 1, 2013

From USDA press release No. 0053.13:

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2013- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the extension of the voluntary claims process for Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who allege discrimination by the USDA in past decades. All claims must now be filed by MAY 1, 2013.

Claim packages and other documentation may be mailed to Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Claims Administrator, PO Box 4540, Portland, OR 97208-4540. Claim packages and other documentation may also be emailed to [email protected]. Claimants may also fax claims packages and other documentation to (855) 626-8343. Completed forms and documentation must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. PDT on May 1, 2013.

A claims process has been established to make available at least $1.33 billion to Hispanic and women farmers or ranchers who allege discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) between 1981 and 2000 in the denial of farm loan benefits.

Women and Hispanic farmers and ranchers who qualify and submit a timely claim could receive an award of up to $50,000, or up to $250,000 in cash, depending on the evidence submitted. Compensation to individual farmers and ranchers may come in the form of cash awards or tax relief payments. An additional $160 million in farm debt relief has been allocated as well. >> You can read the full eligibility criteria below or by clicking here.

  • USDA will accept claims from September 24, 2012 to May 1, 2013.
  • There are no filing fees to participate in the program.
  • USDA farmer and rancher call center: 1-888-508-4429

A fact sheet about the claims process is available here. If you have further questions about the claims process or need assistance to file a claim, RAFI can help. Please contact us at: (919) 542-1396.

More informational and legal assistance resources regarding the claims process are also available from the National Agricultural Law Center here.

>> View the USDA public service announcement on the claims resolution process below.
>> Vea el video aquí: Anuncio de servicio público del USDA para agricultores hispanos o mujeres agricultoras

A USDA release states that “the process offers a voluntary alternative to litigation for each Hispanic or female farmer and rancher who can prove that USDA denied his or her application for loan or loan servicing assistance for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000.” The release also notes that “independent legal services companies will administer the claims process and adjudicate the claims.”

While having a lawyer is not necessary for participating in the claims process, legal assistance may be helpful in filing a claim. RAFI can help you with finding legal assistance.

Eligibility Requirements

• You are Hispanic or female;

• If you are Hispanic, you farmed, or attempted to farm, between January 1, 1981, and December 31, 1996, or between October 13, 1998, and October 13, 2000;

• If you are female, you farmed, or attempted to farm, between January 1, 1981, and December 31, 1996, or between October 19, 1998, and October 19, 2000;

• You were the owner-operator or a tenant-operator of farm property, or you attempted to own or lease farm land, during the same time periods listed above;

• You applied for a farm loan or for farm-loan servicing at a USDA office during one of the time periods listed above; or for those seeking a Tier 1(a) payment only, you made a bona fide effort to apply for a farm loan or for farm-loan servicing, and USDA actively discouraged the application during one of those time periods;

• Your application for a farm loan from USDA was denied, provided late, or approved for a lesser amount than requested or restricted; or USDA failed to provide you an appropriate loan service;

• You believe that USDA discriminated against you because you are Hispanic or female;

• USDA’s treatment of your loan or loan application led to economic damage to you;

• You filed a discrimination complaint with USDA, either individually or through a representative, alleging that USDA discriminated against you based on your being Hispanic or female, in connection with a loan application or loan; and

• You have not participated in, and will not participate in, any other resolution or claims process of any kind involving the same claims.

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