Tri States Public Radio Staff
Women and Hispanic farmers may receive payments
Wed February 27, 2013
Deadline Looms for USDA Discrimination Claims
Women and Hispanic farmers who believe that were discriminated against by the USDA have one month left to file a claim with the federal government.
Women and Hispanic farmers who believe they were denied USDA farm service loans have until march 25th to file claims.
Women and Hispanic farmers who believe they were discriminated against by the USDA between 1981 and 2000 can apply on the USDA's website. Claimants are eligible for a share of 1.3 billion dollars set aside by the USDA for cash payments and tax relief.
Bob Wells is a Field Ag Economist at Iowa State University, he said the USDA’s support for claims is minimal.
"However you have to remember that the USDA cannot give you an type of legal advice, or advice about the claim, other than to basically give you the packet," Wells said.
The USDA says as of February 1st, almost forty-one thousand claims were filed nationwide with all but thre-thousand being rejected as incomplete.
Wells advised those filing to contact the National Ag Law center if they need help.
The USDA calls the claims process an alternative to litigation.
In recent decades the agency has paid almost 2 billion dollars in payments and loan forgiveness to settle lawsuits filed by Black farmers and Native American farmers who claimed they were discriminated against.
The USDA couldn't comment on how the large possible payments to individual farms could be or when they would receive them.
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