USDA Working to Clean up Past
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced improvements to a process announced last February to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who assert they were discriminated against when seeking USDA farm loans. The updated process increases the maximum cash recovery to 250-thousand dollars instead of 50-thousand. The process offers a streamlined alternative to litigation for each individual who can prove that USDA denied their loan or loan servicing for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000.
This updated process comes as part of USDA's efforts to ensure that all its customers have equal access to its programs, and follows the Obama Administration's settlement of longstanding litigation brought by African American and Native American farmers. There are no filing fees or other costs to claimants to participate in the program. Participation is voluntary, and the program does not preclude individuals who opt not to participate from pursuing their cases in court.
Individuals interested in participating in the claims process may register to receive a claims package, or may obtain more information, by visiting www.farmerclaims.gov. Individuals can also call the Farmer and Rancher Call Center at 1-888-508-4429.