U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the extension of the voluntary claims process for Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who allege discrimination by the USDA in past decades. All claims must now be filed by May 1, 2013.
USDA urges potential claimants to contact the Claims Administrator for information and mail their claim packages on or before May 1, 2013.
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. Claimants may register for a claims package by calling the telephone number below Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time or by downloading the forms from the website. For more information visit www.farmerclaims.gov or call 1-888-508-4429. You can also fax (855) 626-8343 or email email@example.com.The claims period runs from September 24, 2012 – May 1, 2013.
Claim packages and other documentation may be mailed to Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 4540, Portland, O.R. 97208-4540. Claim packages and other documentation may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Claimants may also fax claims packages and other documentation to (855) 626-8343. Completed forms and documentation must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. PDT on May 1, 2013.