The USDA announced Monday it would extend the filing deadline in the program to compensate Hispanic and women farmers who were discriminated against in loan applications. The additional time may have been granted in response to low numbers of claims.
In a last-minute extension, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that farmers now have until May 1st to file claims. The program is part of a decades-long effort to address discrimination at the USDA, which began with lawsuits brought by black farmers.
The current process compensates Hispanic and women farmers who were denied loans between 1981 and 2000. $1.3 billion dollars were allocated by the agency, and farmers may apply for up to $250,000 in damages. Yet the application has been criticized as unfair, and only a fraction of the estimated thousands of eligible Hispanic farmers have filed claims to date.