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USDA Announces Claims Process for Hispanic and Women Farmers

Posted by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in USDA Results
Feb 25, 2011

UPDATE 3/12/2014:

USDA is committed to ensuring the integrity and impartiality of the claims process. A neutral, third party has been tasked with overseeing all aspects of the process, including notifications, to make certain that it is fair and equitable.  As we move forward, we’re focused on making sure our programs are more inclusive and accessible than ever to all Americans.

Today is an historic day for USDA.  Working with colleagues at the Department of Justice, we launched a program that provides a path to justice for Hispanic and women farmers who believe they were discriminated against by USDA between 1981 and 2000.  Many of these farmers and ranchers have waited and fought to get relief, but until now their only means of getting their complaints heard was to file an individual case in federal court.  Today we are providing folks with a simpler path that enables them to file a claim for compensation that will be resolved by a neutral party without the involvement of the courts.

When I was sworn in as Secretary of Agriculture two years ago, President Obama and I made a commitment to mend USDA’s troubled civil rights record.  Since then, we have taken comprehensive action to turn the page on past discrimination.  Last year we entered into a settlement with black farmers in Pigford II to address pending claims, and finalized a historic settlement agreement with Native American farmers under Keepseagle that faced discrimination by USDA.

With today’s announcement, we are continuing work to build a new era for civil rights at USDA: correcting our past errors, learning from our mistakes, and outlining definitive action to ensure there will be no missteps in the future.  The process has been long and often difficult, but my staff and I have been working hard every day to make USDA a model employer and premier service provider that treats every customer and employee fairly, with dignity and respect.

If you are a woman or Hispanic farmer or rancher and feel you were discriminated against by USDA between 1981 and 2000, you must request a claims package to participate in the claims process. To begin this process, you can either call 1-888-508-4429 or visit www.farmerclaims.gov to submit your information online.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack participated in a conference call on Friday, Feb. 25, 2011; in Washington, D.C. with news media to announce and answer questions about an administrative claims process for Hispanic farmers and ranchers and women farmers and ranchers to resolve claims of discrimination in farm loan programs from 1981 – 2000. USDA photo by Lance Cheung
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack participated in a conference call on Friday, Feb. 25, 2011; in Washington, D.C. with news media to announce and answer questions about an administrative claims process for Hispanic farmers and ranchers and women farmers and ranchers to resolve claims of discrimination in farm loan programs from 1981 – 2000. USDA photo by Lance Cheung
Category/Topic: USDA Results

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Comments

Leigh Hallam
Oct 13, 2011

I love that women are getting into farming. My Mothers family were and still are farming in the Dakotas. I also would love a farm, only 20 acres would be fine. If you find a nice one that I can finance with you please let me know. Im proud of you for giving Hispanic people a chance, they can grow anything and work 20hrs. out of24. Thank You.

strony www
Oct 19, 2011

5. Fantastic goods from you, man. I've understand your stuff previous to and you're just too fantastic. I actually like what you have acquired here, really like what you're saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it smart. I cant wait to read far more from you. This is really a terrific website.

CAIN
Nov 18, 2011

has anybody seen a packet yet

Carlos
Nov 20, 2011

ARE WE STILL BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST,Even with the current DISCRIMINATION CASE AGAINST with the USDA?When is ENOUGH,Enough?Can you put the shoe on the other foot?it's been OVER TEN YEARS and i still can't Get a FARM,Can't get reimbursed for the loss of potential income,Why are a lot of the same employees still working for the USDA,even after PROOF of their DISCRIMINATION CASES,in which COSTS ALL AMERICANS BILLIONS of DOLLARS in DAMAGES and WOMEN and HISPANIC LAWSUIT STILL PENDING a FAIR TRIAL.WE NEED "CHANGE".

Larsen
Dec 26, 2011

My wife requested a claims package via the provided URL soon after it became available. We have not received any response whatsoever. She called the provided phone number last week and was told by a call center rep that a Claims Administrator had not been appointed, and packages would not be mailed until that happened. That cannot be verified since no USDA website, release, bulletin, or other communication makes any such statement. Now I'm on the hunt for the actual reason behind the missing claims package.

I also sought actual reasons for my wife's difficulties in dealing with our local USDA office over a decade ago. This is no different. Once again the USDA is engaged in a policy of deceit and misinformation. No claims package, no information, no straight answers from the call center, and no possibility of review or remedy as advertised. Pigford and Keepseagle are complete or nearing completion but women and Hispanics are excluded, again. Will there be a second round for this ongoing offense of continued bias and discrimination? Please USDA, stop playing dirty tricks on people. Your claim of providing assistance without bias was false, just as your claim of sending claim packages was false. Oh, I'm quite sure you have some excuse that isn't technically true, like the one about the missing Claims Administrator. If you had a valid excuse, you would have updated the available information instead of leaving incorrect information from last February. You announced the program then ignored it, as if it doesn't exist. We shouldn't be surprised since the USDA sometimes treats people as if they don't exist.

Jon
Mar 26, 2013

The most outrageous part of this is that if a women is also Hispanic she is limited to filing one claim. This is the new Obama America. A women who is hipanic should be able to file two claims for both of her minority positions and all white anglo men shoukd be stripped of their wealth. Thats fair right?

Sally Sanders
Nov 08, 2013

Will this claim be reopen for the ones who had no ideal about this

De
Dec 28, 2013

This is the announcement by the Ag Secretary in 2/2011

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack participated in a conference call on Friday, Feb. 25, 2011; in Washington, D.C. with news media to announce and answer questions about an administrative claims process for Hispanic farmers and ranchers and women farmers and ranchers to resolve claims of discrimination in farm loan programs from 1981 – 2000.

It is now Dec 2013, or almost Jan 2014, and we are still in the dark as to the status of these claims. which is almost 3 years, and are being told maybe by the summer/fall of 2014. This is ridiculous. And another thing, there is no where to get answers,oh sure you can call the 800 number but the Admins can't answer your questions because the Adjudicators don't tell them anything. Well, that is what the Admins are telling us anyway. We were first told they would be done in 2013 and now they are talking almost another year. The website is not being updated either. Does anyone have any better information regarding this process. Like why is it taking so long, when the Ag Secretary said it was a simpler process.

alyra99
Jan 12, 2014

I agree 100% , with what De says;Like why is it taking so long, when the Ag Secretary said it was a simpler process? I have been waiting a total of 10 yrs. for this to be resolved. In the meantime family members are dying,Mother is 80 yrs. old with dementia,lost everything of value to me expect this land that i can do nothing with!It's sad and depressing.... I want to give up!I did everything right and made it to the adjudicator,I called the 800# and was told that letters of approval would be sent out by summer/fall of 2014,a total of 2yrs.I've been waiting for some clarity, who to say I will be alive in summer/fall of 2014.....SMH! Is that what you are waiting for the claimants to die off! Help me understand???

byy
Feb 11, 2014

With the BF's litigation, at least claimants could see the public court documents related to delays and class counsels responses.... with this "claims process" we have no class counsel and NO UPDATES! Even those who hired lawyers on their own say their lawyers haven't even been given ONE SINGLE UPDATE by the admins/adjudicators/USDA/NO ONE! How did "a simple process" in 2011 get us to 2014 with NO explanation of why? And, I might add, with funding through the DOJ judgment fund and not congress. The admin line is a JOKE. I can recite word for word what you will hear if you call for the status of your claim...and SMH that they have to read it. If there is a hold-up just let us know. How difficult is it to send out an INFORMATIVE announcement stating for example: "We received X # of claims and at this time the adjudicators have reviewed X%. We anticipate completing the remaining X% of reviews by xx/xx/xx. The reason for the delay is that xxxxxx and xxxxxx. We have cleared this up and are now expecting xxxxx. Thank you." Is this possible Epiq/neutrals?

MW
Feb 12, 2014

as you can see, women are being discriminated against once again. this process has taken an unjustified amount of time with no explanation. I am considering contacting an attorney to file another class action suit. who is in agreement with me.

FAM
Feb 12, 2014

@MW Agreed!
Once again we're being treated like a second class citizen... Why should we be surprised that the same agency (USDA)that discriminated against us in the first place, would treat us any better during the settlement process. Thanks for the empty promises Mr. Vilsack... Same cat.. different stripes...

NIAK
Feb 12, 2014

This is a travesty that has gone on much too long as we continue to be given the run around and are left in the dark wondering. Why hasn't Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack or his office given us an update? He himself said this would be a simple process and quote 'I have been working hard every day to make USDA a model employer and premier service provider that treats every customer and employee fairly, with dignity and respect.' While waiting for completion more of our sisters in farming have passed on without answers to questions or even a timely response or reply. We have not been given access to anything regarding this claims process and every entity involved follows the same script which tells one nothing in regards to how much longer this will go on or an outcome. How hard would it be to give us a tentative outline? Discrimination continues and appears to be alive and well in 2014. Where is the transparency, information quality, accessibility, performance reports the USDA prides itself on through links listed below on this page regarding our cases? We are the proverbial mushrooms that continue to be kept in the dark being fed manure. Having personally shoveled tons of it in my lifetime I am well aware of what it looks and smells like.

Alice
Feb 12, 2014

Check out mysettlementclaims for news. They are the only ones updating.

FAM
Feb 13, 2014

Perhaps we should also direct our concerns (and frustration!) en-mass with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Phone: 1-202-720-3631
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Attention: Secretary Tom Vilsack
1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 200-A
Washington DC 20250

EEE
Feb 14, 2014

DISCRIMINATION continues.....3 years and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack hasn't made any kind of update to the people who filed claims or to the United State of America!!!!! If he is working hard everyday he should have had time to give the country and update. Looks like the DISCRIMINATION will never end.....

fff
Feb 14, 2014

If you are a woman or Hispanic farmer or rancher and feel you were discriminated against by USDA between Feb. 25, 2011 and Feb. 25, 2014 a 3 year time period!!!!!!!! You need to request a claims package!!!!! This will be the next class action law suit.....We want to be heard! We want to be acknowledged!!! We want answers!!!!! Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack give us some ANSWERS!!!!

LDS
Feb 14, 2014

Please A.G. Tom Vilsack help answer some questions......Can you provide an update on the Hispanic and women farmers settlement process? How many claims in each level? How many claims were rejected? How many claims have been completed? When will payouts be made? Why is this process taking so long?

mw
Feb 14, 2014

Please give an update on the settlement process status. We have been kept in the dark far too long!!!

krd
Feb 14, 2014

We need a new update on the Hispanic and women farmers settlement, asap

LDS
Feb 16, 2014

Please A.G. Tom Vilsack help answer some questions……Can you provide an update on the Hispanic and women farmers settlement process? How many claims in each level? How many claims were rejected? How many claims have been completed? When will payouts be made? Why is this process taking so long?

Lrf
Feb 18, 2014

Please provide an immediate update for the Hispanic and Women Farmers.
We have been waiting for a very long time.

Lrf
Feb 18, 2014

I know I am speaking for many when I say that Right Now Things Are Worse Than Ever.
All I want to know is how much longer I am suppose to hang on.
It's very hard to make any goals or plans without some kind of update.

EEE
Feb 20, 2014

Please provide an update with some real information instead of all the "We can't tell you or give you any information!". Did all those Women & Hispanics just sign away our rights? Please some real numbers, a real time line and some real answers. If not from Tom Vilsack then from someone.

MW
Feb 20, 2014

Mr. Tom Vilsack.
Who can we contact that may have some actual informative information on the settlement process or status of our claims?
Thank you

SA
Feb 21, 2014

I am in agreement with everyone why NO UPDATES!!!! We need to flood his office with calls to get someones attention.
I just suspect them of lying once again which is what this administration if famous for so far!

SA
Feb 21, 2014

Okay I decided that I would bypass the USDA and go straight to the whitehouse. You can e-mail them directly from their website whitehouse.gov will keep you posted and I highly recommend that you do this as well.

NIAK
Feb 21, 2014

Don't waste your time calling number below was told do not know why we would be referred to it as they know nothing and have nothing to do with the case. Tried to give me farmersclaim 888# didn't seem to care at all. So...there you have it. Clueless in DC
:(

Perhaps we should also direct our concerns (and frustration!) en-mass with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Phone: 1-202-720-3631
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Attention: Secretary Tom Vilsack
1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 200-A
Washington DC 20250

De
Mar 13, 2014

Your remarks of 3/12/14 say absolutely NOTHING.

NIAK
Mar 13, 2014

Dear USDA is that really the best you can do after 3 more years? Did anyone in your office bother to contact your 3rd party? We've heard the same from them with no updates for the last 8 months. Is their contract renewed yearly or through task completion? Ironic isn't it? In the end, All non-farming entities involved will receive more compensation than the discriminated farmers. Sad!

FAM
Mar 14, 2014

Translation of the USDA's 3/12/2014 “update”:

”Blah blah blah”... "it’s not our fault”.. yada yada yada… ”We paid someone to handle this”… blah blah blah “although we can’t be bothered to provide over-site, we’ll shell out your tax dollars to a third party" … yada yada yada… "We’re inclusive and accessible!" yada yada yada... “we’re focused on moving forward and not back, so move along lady farmers, you’re old news, and not our problem anymore.”

mw
Mar 14, 2014

@FAM-- Well translated. that's exactly what I got from the update. Blah Blah Blah!!! USDA...We want more!!!

JAS
Mar 18, 2014

IF anyone from the USDA just so happens to read any of these comments can you please give us an update, or better yet have the 3rd party give the updates. Since the update of 3/12/14 states basically that they would be the ones who have all the information. In the statement the word "programs" is used, not "claims" or "resolutions", so does the "inclusiveness and accessibility" only apply to the new and improved USDA programs and not this discrimination case?

>> USDA is committed to ensuring the integrity and impartiality of the claims process. A neutral, third party has been tasked with overseeing all aspects of the process, including notifications, to make certain that it is fair and equitable. As we move forward, we’re focused on making sure our programs are more inclusive and accessible than ever to all Americans.<<

USDA Unequal
Mar 19, 2014

Unfortunately, the fact is that the USDA Cultural Transformation is pure propaganda. USDA officials responsible for diversity and inclusiveness are the first to discriminate against employees and customers. Mr. Vilsack means well but he is not well served by his own leadership team and no progress has been made.

TZMN
Mar 20, 2014

So this is an official USDA blog site with so many respectful requests for answers but not one response from the USDA..... Hmmm, more appeasement, more symbolism over substance. "Let's give this pathetic group of people a site to comment on but we're not going to read them or waste any of our precious water cooler time answering questions. Just let them think we give a rat's behind". I am outraged! This is a stranglehold with no where to turn. The USDA should be ashamed.

Wondering minds
Apr 03, 2014

Why haven't there been any updates on this claims? There is no reason other than laziness on this case. The funds are there but you just won't release them. The adjudicators or sucking USDA by dragging There feet. I am sure you have plenty of claims but when I am hired to do a Job there is a deadline. This needs to happen.
By the time funds are given out, our farm lands will suffer due to lack of funds to keep them going. I believe hispanic and women farmers are being discriminated against worse. Everyone else has been paid. We are the last because of why? Then drag your feet. Absolutely NO reason for this. We voted these people in. We will vote them out. They get their pay checks. Where is ours.

Really
Apr 11, 2014

When I called about the claims. Lady said they were backed up running behind. But assured me that we would get responses by November 2014. Do you believe that. They have the money. What is the problem. They still treat us like we re not important. It should not take until November 2014. Please.

ignored
Apr 21, 2014

I to have been ignored. I am not responded to by email, phone nor snail mail. I have lost almost everything while waiting and I am sick to death of feeling like I am being shoved under the bed because "a man could do it better" Feeling let down by my government...again

Wondering minds
May 04, 2014

I understand ignored because I did lose and when I see funding going out from USDA it makes me sick. I know they have plenty of claims. Then hire more adjudicators to get this closed. The is absolutely no reason we should have to wait like this. I pray I can start again because this is my life.
For Gods sake please hire more adjudicators to get this closed.
Prayers go out for all who need the help.

Wondering minds
May 04, 2014

Please hire more Adjudicator's to get this closed.

NIAK
May 08, 2014

Wondering minds says:
05/04/2014 at 10:38 PM
I understand ignored because I did lose and when I see funding going out from USDA it makes me sick. I know they have plenty of claims. Then hire more adjudicators to get this closed. The is absolutely no reason we should have to wait like this. I pray I can start again because this is my life.
For Gods sake please hire more adjudicators to get this closed.
Prayers go out for all who need the help.

Please hire more Adjudicator’s to get this closed.

You said it well Sister. Amen.

krd
May 13, 2014

Mr Secretary its been 2 months since the last update, come on this is ridiculous to have to wait this long for information.

shellfishfarm
Jun 09, 2014

I have lost everything already. this discrimination has effected my family in such a way that we now have to apply for help from the state. In ten+ years my kids have had to deal with low stander education, divorce , bad health care so so many more effects have trickled down. This so called claim would not even begin to repair the damage we have endure . This amount of money given will not change anything the damage is to great the government have been able to keep us where they want us.... with nothing to fit with.. Im not counting on this claim i dont think its ever coming .... god bless you all

shellfishfarm
Jun 09, 2014

I just called .The secretary who answer have no idea about the Hispanic and Woman farmers and Ranchers Claims Resolution Process.

We are not even on their mind, if you do not speak up or call you will never be heard.

Phone: 1-202-720-3631
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Attention: Secretary Tom Vilsack
1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 200-A
Washington DC 20250

womanfarmer
Jun 16, 2014

I FILED WAY BEFORE DEADLINE WITH AN ATT. THERE HAS BEEN NO RESPONCE AT ALL.NUMEROUS PHONE CALLS ETC. NO RESPONCE..ONE LADY AT THE USDA DIDNT EVEN KNOW ABOUT THE SUITS, ANY OF THEM! ITS SO HARD TO HEAR YOU HAVE BEEN TREATED 'WRONGLY', THEN TO HAVE THE SAME ONES INGNORE YOU AND FORGET YOU AGAIN!

Marty White
Jun 26, 2014

I just checked the web site. Saying the same thing the letter I received 10/23/12 said. My claim is at the adjudicators. Please help us women, we are all trying so hard and it just gets harder by the day.

Wondering Minds
Sep 24, 2014

when will the checks be mailed out?

North In AK
Sep 26, 2014

Is it late summer/early fall yet?

How about an update?

iamnotamushroom...iamnotamushroom...iamnotamushroom...

shellfishfarm
Oct 02, 2014

I still do not understand who is responsible for the lack of no update to information...... Why keep us soooooo in the dark. Did they forget about us ? why is it that adjudicators processing the forms are not listed as a government contractor. so much personal information of everyone is given to the "adjudicators" and we know nothing about them or how safe the information is.... This whole thing stinks no updates for years... I will be very surprised if anyone gets anything

I AM NOT A MUSHROOM!
Oct 06, 2014

Its now October 2014, no updates, no news, nothing! An update please! Its been years!