The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended the voluntary claims process for Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who claim discrimination by the USDA in past decades.
Those who file a claim by May 1 will be considered for a cash payment or for loan forgiveness.
According to John Padalino, the USDA rural utilities acting administrator, in order to receive a claims package, each Hispanic or female farmer and rancher needs to prove that the USDA denied his or her application for loan or loan servicing assistance for discriminatory reasons for time periods between 1981 and 2000.
The voluntary claims process will make at least $1.33 billion in cash awards and tax relief payments and 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.
To file a claim, call 1-888-508-4429 or visit the website at www.farmerclaims.gov.