In February, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Tony West announced a process created to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who assert they faced discrimination when seeking USDA farm loans during certain periods between years 1981 and 2000.

The optional 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.

“The claims process has not began and producers can still request a claims package,” said Vilsack. “The claims process will allow Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who allege past discrimination the opportunity to receive compensation, while closing a sad chapter in USDA history to move forward and focus on the future