Deadline approaches for discrimination suits
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reminds Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who allege discrimination by the USDA in past decades the filing period closes March 25.
"Hispanic and women farmers who believe they have faced discriminatory practices in the past from the USDA have (until March 25) to file a claim in order to have a chance to receive a cash payment or loan forgiveness," Vilsack said. "USDA urges potential claimants to contact the claims administrator for information and mail their claim packages on or before March 25."
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. 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.
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