During 2011, the USDA is holding meetings and distributing information throughout California to explain a discrimination claims resolution option to ensure that all potential claimants are informed. If you are a female or Hispanic farmer or rancher and you believe that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) improperly denied farm loan benefits to you for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000 because you are Hispanic or a woman, you may be eligible for compensation.

You might be eligible if: 

  • you sought a farm loan or farm-loan servicing from USDA during that period; and
  • the loan was denied, provided late, approved for a lesser amount than requested, approved with restrictive conditions, or USDA failed to provide an appropriate loan service; and
  • you believe these actions occurred because you are female or Hispanic.

"Over the next weeks and months we will be reaching out to leaders of Hispanic organizations and women’s organizations and asking for their help to spread the word to those who may be eligible,” said David Schaad, acting state executive director of the Farm Service Agency. “Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers can come forward and participate in the claims process by  registering to receive a claims package," said Schaad.  Call the Farmer and Rancher Call Center at 1-888-508-4429 to have a package mailed or register online at www.farmerclaims.gov.

In 2011, a Claims Administrator will begin mailing claims packages to those who have requested one through the Call Center or Website. The claims package will contain detailed information about the eligibility and claims process. Once the claims period is announced, there will be 180-day timeframe to submit a claim to the Claims Administrator. 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.