The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has taken a significant step forward in addressing farm loan discrimination by opening the application process for financial relief for farmers who have faced discrimination in its lending programs. This move comes as part of the department’s ongoing effort to rectify decades of systemic discrimination experienced by farmers of color. Previous attempts by the Biden administration to provide payouts to affected farmers faced legal hurdles, but the USDA is determined to provide much-needed relief. Contact Consumer Safety Watch today to learn more about farm loan discrimination compensation and how to apply for relief from the USDA.
The USDA’s Discrimination Financial Assistance program aims to provide relief to farmers, forest landowners, and ranchers who have experienced discrimination in the department’s farm loan programs before January 1, 2021. This assistance is available to individuals who have been unjustly denied loans, received loans for smaller amounts than requested, faced delayed or deferred loans, or encountered other problems in securing farm loans due to discrimination based on race, age, sexual identity, gender, religion, disability, marital status, or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.
Eligible farmers who have previously received payments as part of discrimination lawsuits against the USDA, including class-action lawsuits brought by Black and Native American farmers, are also eligible to apply for relief. The USDA recognizes the need to address past injustices and provide financial assistance to those who have been affected by discrimination in its lending programs.
The USDA’s initiative to provide relief for farm loan discrimination is in accordance with the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). This act, signed into law by President Biden, allows farmers of all backgrounds, regardless of race, to receive financial assistance of up to $500,000 to address the consequences they have faced as a result of discrimination. The IRA provides a total of $2.2 billion in funding for these claims, with a maximum of $500,000 per claim.
The application process for farm loan discrimination relief is now open and will continue only until October 31, 2023, so don’t wait to apply. Farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners who meet the eligibility criteria are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible. The USDA will review and process applications in November and December, with payments being disbursed to eligible recipients shortly thereafter.
To streamline the application process and ensure efficient delivery of relief, the USDA has enlisted the services of The Midtown Group as the national administrator. The Midtown Group will review and process applications based on the USDA’s standards, distribute payments, oversee a national call center, and provide technical assistance to applicants.
The USDA acknowledges the need for a comprehensive approach to address the historical and ongoing disparities faced by farmers of color. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack emphasizes the importance of rebuilding trust and rectifying past discriminatory practices. The department is committed to working closely with national vendor partners and community-based organizations to ensure that eligible farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners have clear information about available assistance, the application process, and where to seek guidance at each step.
Efforts to address racial equity and underserved communities within the USDA are also evident in the establishment of the USDA Equity Commission, which was born out of a Biden executive order. The commission has been tasked with addressing racial equity issues and making recommendations for improving access to USDA programs and services. By reducing paperwork, speeding up decision-making processes, and providing clearer information, the USDA aims to enhance customer service and reduce rates of application denials and withdrawals.
The USDA’s acceptance of applications for farm loan discrimination relief marks a significant milestone in its ongoing efforts to rectify past discrimination and promote equity within its lending programs. Eligible farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners who have experienced discrimination in USDA lending programs prior to January 1, 2021, are encouraged to apply for financial assistance. This initiative, backed by the Inflation Reduction Act, demonstrates the USDA’s dedication to addressing the historical injustices faced by farmers of color and providing them with the support they need to thrive. To find out whether you qualify for farm loan discrimination compensation from the USDA, contact Consumer Safety Watch today.