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If you are a female farmer or rancher or a Hispanic farmer or rancher and you believe that the United States Department of Agriculture improperly denied farm loan benefits to you for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000 because of your gender or race, you may be eligible to apply for compensation. “We want all producers in Kentucky who may be eligible to have the opportunity to participate in this claims process,” said John W. McCauley, Kentucky Farm Service Agency state executive director.
The program USDA announced earlier this year with the Department of Justice provides up to $50,000 for each Hispanic or woman farmer who can show that USDA denied them a loan or loan servicing for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000. This 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. Hispanic or women farmers who provide additional proof and meet other requirements can receive a $50,000 reward. Successful claimants are also eligible for funds to pay the taxes on their awards and for forgiveness of certain existing USDA loans. There is no filing fees or other costs to claimants to participate in the program. Participation is voluntary, and individuals who decide not to participate may choose to file a complaint in court. However, USDA cannot provide legal advice to potential claimants, and persons seeking legal advice may contact a lawyer or other legal services provider.
Potential claimants can register to receive a claims package by calling the Farmer and Rancher Call Center at (888) 508-4429 or visiting www.farmerclaims.gov. Claimants have until Aug. 25 to register to receive a claims package. Contact your local FSA Service Center for addition information.
Acreage reports are required for many Farm Service Agency programs. Acreage reports are needed to maintain eligibility for the Noninsured Crop Assistance Program and the Conservation Reserve Program.
The final date to report all crops, except small grains and certain NAP crops is July 15. Reports filed after the reporting deadline are subject to a late-reporting fee.
Please remember that filing an accurate acreage report, including failed acreage and prevented planting acreage, can prevent the loss of benefits for a variety of programs. Failed acreage must be reported within 15 days of the disaster event and before disposition of the crop. Acreage reports on crops for which NAP assistance may be paid are due in the county office by the earlier final crop reporting date or 15 calendar days before the onset of harvest or grazing.
For more information on USDA and FSA programs please contact Ronn Pelfrey, County Executive Director, at the Owenton Farm Service Center, 205 West Perry St., Owenton, KY; (502) 484-3979.