Bennet, Udall, Tipton Urge USDA to Extend Claims Process for Colorado Hispanic, Women Farmers

Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall and Congressman Scott Tipton urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in a letter this week to extend the filing deadline for Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers in Colorado to allow sufficient time for them to submit their claims related to a discrimination lawsuit to the department.

"We write to request that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) extend the claims period for loan discrimination cases against Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers," the lawmakers wrote. "We believe that extending the claims period will provide a better opportunity for achieving justice by ensuring that claimants have full and fair consideration of their claims."

A group of more than 100 Hispanic farmers filed suit against the USDA in 2000. The suit, Garcia v. Vilsack, alleged that the USDA’s Farm Service Agency discriminated against Hispanic farmers in the awarding of operating and disaster loans between 1981 and 2000. Through a settlement process, the USDA agreed to create a process to review claims.

The current deadline for Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers to submit their claims is March 25, 2013.

To read the full text of the letter, click HERE.