order non hybrid seeds LandRightsNFarming: URGENT: Claims Process Deadline - ONLY A FEW DAYS REMAIN

Thursday, April 25, 2013

URGENT: Claims Process Deadline - ONLY A FEW DAYS REMAIN

From: thea@ruralco.org
To: lawrlcl@aol.com
Sent: 4/24/2013 6:15:29 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: URGENT: Claims Process Deadline - ONLY A FEW DAYS REMAIN

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Rural Coalition

The USDA process to resolve the claims of Hispanic and Women farmers and ranchers who assert that they were discriminated against when seeking USDA farm loans has been extended, and will now close May 1, 2013. As such, only days remain to preserve your right to file a claim.

The two-tier claims process will provide at least $1.33 billion in compensation, plus up to $160 million in farm debt relief, to eligible women and Hispanic farmers and ranchers. USDA opened the 180-day claims period September 25, 2012. The claims period now closes May 1, 2013.

If you believe the USDA improperly denied farm loan program benefits to you between 1981 and 1996 or between mid-October 1998 and mid-October 2000 because you are Hispanic or female, you may be eligible to apply for compensation by filing a claim. This means you may be eligible if:
  1. You sought a farm loan or farm loan servicing during the period 1981 through 1996 or mid-October 1998 through mid-October 2000;
  2. The loan or loan servicing was denied, approved for a lesser amount than requested, approved with restrictive conditions, or provided late; USDA failed to provide appropriate loan servicing; or USDA actively discouraged you from applying for the loan or loan servicing; and
  3. You believe these actions were based on your being Hispanic or female.
There are only a few days remaining for claimants to file their claims form. Please read information below on filing the form on time given the short time remaining.

It is critical to submit claims forms, on/or before midnight, on May 1, 2013. Any claims filed after midnight, May 1, 2013, will be denied. Please read and pass along the following requirements for claims:

If you think you might be eligible for this claims process:

1. You should also work immediately to prepare your complete claim for filing. To do so, first contact the Claims Administrator (EPIQ) at 1-888-508-4429 or www.farmerclaims.gov as soon as possible to request that your individually numbered claims form be sent to you. Your completed form must be POSTMARKED no later than May 1, 2013. We strongly suggest you get a receipt from the post office.

Mail your information to:

USDA Hispanic & Women Farmers and Ranchers
Claims Administrator
P. O. Box 4540
Portland, OR 97208-4540

2. We also strongly suggest you immediately seek assistance from an attorney or an advocate to move forward on preparing a complete form with all necessary documentation.  The process of filing a claim is complex, and assistance from a lawyer or an advocate experienced in the process is strongly advised.   In order to seek an attorney to help prepare your claim, please click the following "live" link to find an attorney in your area: Legal Assistance List.  (This link updates as new attorneys register & receive training on the claims process).   

3. Claimants who file claims, on/or before midnight, May 1, 2013, but whose claims are incomplete WILL most likely be considered. We understand that claimants who submit incomplete claims will receive a letter from the Claims Administrator, EPIQ Systems, indicating what information is missing from their claim. Claimants will have the opportunity to file a completed claims form, within the time indicated, in your letter from EPIQ.  These claimants will have the opportunity after the Claims Deadline to submit the missing information. Therefore, if you have just learned about the process, complete as much of the form as you are able and mail with a letter explaining you just learned of the process and will submit missing information as soon as you are able.

Rural Coalition also has a list of advocates who are available to assist claimants.  Please request this list by sending an email to HWFRClaims@ruralco.org

Questions and concerns may be addressed to Rural Coalition and staff at: HWFRClaims@ruralco.org

Additional information is available from USDA Office of Advocacy & Outreach follow this link to their website: http://www.outreach.usda.gov/

This alert is sent out by:
Rural Coalition
1029 Vermont Ave Suite 601
Washington, DC 20005

Please send any questions or feedback to

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