WASHINGTON — The USDA has announced that Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who allege discrimination by the agency in past decades can file claims between Sept. 24 and March 25.
“Hispanic and women farmers who believe they have faced discriminatory practices from the USDA must file a claim by March 25, 2013, in order to have a chance to receive a cash payment or loan forgiveness,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The opening of this claims process is part of USDA’s ongoing efforts to correct the wrongs of the past and ensure fair treatment to all current and future customers.”
As announced in February 2011, the voluntary claims process will make available at least $1.33 billion for cash awards and tax relief payments, plus up to $160 million in farm debt relief, to eligible Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers. There are no filing fees to participate in the program.
Call center representatives can be reached at 888-508-4429. Claimants must register for a claims package (by calling the number or visiting www.farmerclaims.gov) and the claims package will be mailed to them.
Independent legal services companies will administer the claims process and adjudicate the claims.