Lawyers Needed for USDA Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Claims Process (HWFRCP)

The United States Government has established the Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Claims Process to make available up to $1.33 billion or more to farmers who alleged discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) based on being female, or based on being Hispanic, in making or servicing farm loans during certain periods between 1981 and 2000.  Qualified claimants who submit a timely claim could receive an award of up to $50,000 or up to $250,000 in cash, depending on the evidence submitted. USDA will also provide a total of up to $160 million in debt relief to successful Claimants who currently owe USDA money for eligible farm loans. Successful Claimants may also receive an additional amount, equal to 25% of the combined cash award plus the principal amount of debt relief, to help pay federal taxes that may be owed.

Farmers Legal Action Group, Inc. (FLAG) and the National Agricultural Law Center (NALC) are assisting in the development of a legal assistance network of attorneys to assist claimants in the completion of the official Claims Form. The Legal Assistance Network will be widely distributed to potential claimants, including being publicly available on the National Agricultural Law Center website here so that claimants and others can easily access the information and make contact with attorneys.  For background information on the USDA HWFRCP, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center website and/or visit the official Claims Process website.

Attorney involvement with the HWFRCP can be done on a pro bono basis, or for compensation. Please note, however, that a claimant is not required to be assisted by an attorney in order to complete and submit the official USDA HWFRCP Claim Form. In addition, the attorney need not be listed in the legal assistance network in order to assist a claimant.

Any lawyers interested in being listed in the Legal Assistance Network should send an email that indicates the state(s) in which they are licensed to practice, along with the corresponding bar number(s) for those states, and a request for a copy of the training video.  Attorneys cannot be included on the Legal Assistance Network until they have communicated that they have viewed the training video.

More information is available here.