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Agriculture
5:14 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Women, Hispanics can file claims for USDA discrimination

The USDA (leader Tom Vilsack seen here) is accepting applications from female and Hispanic farmers who believe the agency discriminated against them in farm loan or loan servicing programs.
Credit USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently accepting claims from female and Hispanic farmers who believe the agency discriminated against them in farm loan or loan servicing programs. The claims process is complex—but the payouts could be large.

After the courts rejected a class action lawsuit from the farmers, USDA agreed to a voluntary settlement process with women and Latinos.

Claimants must submit a 16-page claims package plus additional evidence, and then a third-party will review and determine eligibility.

Lynn Hayes of the Farmers Legal Action Group says eligible cases must fall between 1981 and 2000.

“You may have a discrimination claim even if you actually got the loan that you applied for but then had problems later on when you needed servicing for the loan,” she says.

But coming up with the required documentation could be a challenge—Hayes says in mid-December, about 85 percent of packets received had been returned as incomplete. But successful claimants could receive $50,000 or, in some cases, as much as $250,000.

This story originally aired as part of Business Beat, a weekly program about business and economics in mid-Missouri.

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