Hispanic, women farmers and ranchers can file discrimination claims

Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers alleging past discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture have until March 25 to file claims, the U.S.D.A. said Friday.

Hispanic and women farmers who believe they have faced discriminatory practices in the past from the U.S.D.A. have 45 days left to file claims to have a chance at receiving cash or loan forgiveness, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

The process offers an alternative to litigation for Hispanic or female farmers and ranchers who can prove that the U.S.D.A. denied his or her application for loan or loan servicing assistance for discriminatory reasons between 1981 and 2000.

As announced last year, the claims process will make available at least $1.33 billion for cash awards and tax relief payments, and as much as $160 million in farm debt relief, to eligible Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers. There are no filing fees to participate in the program.

The Department will continue reaching out to potential Hispanic and female claimants around the country to get the word out to individuals who may be eligible for this program so they have the opportunity to participate.

Call center representatives can be reached at 1-888-508-4429. Claimants may register for a claims package by calling the number or visiting the website www.farmerclaims.gov.

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