Officials at USDA and the Attorney General's office are continuing efforts to close the chapter on allegations that discrimination occurred at USDA in past decades. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General Tony West have announced the establishment of a process to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who assert they were discriminated against when seeking USDA farm loans.
The program provides up to $50,000 for each Hispanic or woman farmer who can show that USDA denied them a loan or loan servicing for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000. Successful claimants are also eligible for funds to pay the taxes on their awards and for forgiveness of certain existing USDA loans. There are no filing fees or other costs to claimants to participate in the program.
In conjunction with this announcement, USDA is launching an outreach effort to potential claimants that will include a call center, a Web site, public service announcements, and in-person meetings around the country. 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.