USDA Announces Settlement

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced settlement payments available to Hispanic and women farmers who feel that they were unfairly denied loans by USDA agents. Access to a part of the $1.28 billion settlement will be available to eligible farmers who file between September 24 and March 25 of next year.

For the past several years, in addition to guiding agricultural policy and offering financial support to struggling farmers, the USDA has made it a top priority to offer reparations to farmers who have been wronged by discriminatory policies. Over the last two years, the USDA has reached settlements in class action lawsuits filed by African Americans and Native Americans who alleged that they were denied farm loans because of their racial background.

In announcing the settlement, Secretary of Agricultural Tom Vilsack stressed that it provided a “path to justice” to wronged farmers. “Many of these farmers and ranchers have waited and fought to get relief, but until now their only means of getting their complaints heard was to file an individual case in federal court.  Today we are providing folks with a simpler path that enables them to file a claim for compensation that will be resolved by a neutral party without the involvement of the courts,” Vilsack said in an official statement.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer