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Government accepting discrimination claims
As part of continued efforts to close the chapter on allegations that discrimination occurred at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in past decades, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General Tony West announced March 8 the establishment of a process to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who assert that they were discriminated against when seeking USDA farm loans.
The claims process offers a streamlined alternative to litigation and provides at least $1.33 billion in compensation, plus up to $160 million in farm debt relief to eligible Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers. This announcement follows the Obama administration’s settlement of longstanding litigation brought by African American farmers and Native American farmers.
In conjunction with this announcement, the USDA is launching an outreach effort to potential claimants that will include a call center for farmers and ranchers, a Website, 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.
Individuals can register to receive a claims package by calling the Farmer and Rancher Call Center at 1-888-508-4429. The USDA cannot provide legal advice to potential claimants. Persons seeking legal advice may contact a lawyer or other legal services provider.
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