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News Release

USDA Announces Public Information Meetings for the Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Claim Process

Updated 10/26/2012

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NEWS RELEASE

Contact:
Molly McDonough
(717) 237-2208

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Harrisburg, PA, September 27, 2012 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold public information sessions in Pennsylvania for Hispanic and women farmers who allege USDA discrimination when seeking USDA farm loan assistance between 1981 and 2000. Agency directors will answer questions and discuss the Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers claims process.

The scheduled meetings are:

October 2, 2012 - 10:00 a.m.

Westmoreland County USDA Service Center

214 Donohoe Center

Greensburg, PA 15601

October 2, 2012 - 3:00 p.m.

Courtyard Pittsburgh

Washington Meadowlands

1800 Tanger Blvd.

Washington, PA 15301

October 4, 2012 - 10:00 a.m.

Hampton Inn Meadville

11446 Dawn Drive

Meadville, PA 16335

October 4, 2012 - 3:00 p.m.

Courtyard by Marriott of Erie, PA

7792 Peach Street

Erie, PA 16509

October 25, 2012,

10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Berks County USDA Service Center

1238 County Welfare Road

Leesport, PA 19533

October 25, 2012

10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Lancaster County USDA Service Center
1383 Arcadia Road

Lancaster, PA 17601

On September 24, 2012, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the opening of a claims process for Hispanic or female farmers and ranchers who can prove that USDA denied their applications for loan or loan servicing assistance for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000.

"The opening of this claims process is part of USDA's ongoing efforts to correct the wrongs of the past and ensure fair treatment to all current and future customers," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The claims process offers a streamlined alternative to litigation and provides at least $1.33 billion for cash awards and tax relief payments, plus up to $160 million in farm debt relief, to eligible Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers. There are no filing fees to participate in the program.

All those interested in learning more or receiving information about the claims process and claims packages are encouraged to attend meetings in your communities and contact the website or claims telephone number.

Website: www.farmerclaims.gov
 Phone: 1-888-508-4429
 Claims Period: September 24, 2012 - March 25, 2013.

For additional information about the meetings in Pennsylvania, or to make special accommodations requests, please call 717-237-2208, or 717-237-2133.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

To file a complaint of discrimination, write:
USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250-9410
or
Call (800) 795-3272 (voice)
(202) 720-6382 (TDD).