MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

March 25, 2013

Deadline extended for farmers, ranchers


— Federal authorities extended to May 1 the deadline for women and Hispanic farmers and ranchers who have alleged discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to file claims.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the extension Monday, the day the deadline was to expire.

The process offers a voluntary alternative to litigation for those who can prove the agency denied an application for loan or loan servicing assistance for discriminatory reasons. The alleged discrimination must have occurred between 1981 and 2000.

There are no filing fees to participate in the program. Call center representatives may be contacted by calling (888) 508-4429. Claimants may register for a claims package by calling or online at www.farmerclaims.gov.

Claim packages and other documentation may be mailed to Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 4540, Portland, OR 97208-4540, or sent by email to claims@hwfr.org.