Discrimination Financial Assistance Program provides outreach to local farmers

Local farmers who feel they were victims of discrimination in the process of trying to receive funding from the United States Department of Agriculture gathered at the Gadsden County Cooperative Extension Service in Quincy on Saturday morning, September 9 to receive counsel and assistance in preparing and filing applications for financial aid.

As part of the Inflation Reduction Act, $2.2 billion was authorized for financial assistance for farmers and ranchers who were victims of discrimination in USDA Farm Loan programs before January 1, 2021.

Unfortunately, the application process to receive these funds is very technical, and a simple mistake can void the application of one who might otherwise be eligible for much needed financial assistance.

District 4 Commissioner Brenda Holt, along with farmer Matt Bowman and former Senator Tony Hill, opened the discussion by informing the gathered farmers about the USDA Discrimination Financial Assistance Program, and how to take advantage of it.

Technical Support Agents from Windsor Group, LLC, a small business vendor contracted by the USDA to run the financial aid program, were available on site to assist attendees in preparing their applications correctly to ensure the best chance for approval.

“What we are doing is trying to make sure that the farmers get their applications in on time for discrimination lawsuits, and these are not just suits for Black folks,” said Commissioner Holt. “They are for any folks. Also, because of climate change, the farmers are going to have a hard time because of weather conditions. We need to make sure they get assistance because we need food.”

If you are a farmer or rancher and you have experienced discrimination from a USDA Farm Loan Program prior to January 1, 2021, you should know that the application deadline for Discrimination Financial Assistance is October 31, 2023. There is no charge to file an application, and free technical assistance is available.

You can access the application, file it, and find resources including in-person agents for face-to-face help online at 22007apply.gov, and there is also a call center available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 1-800-721-0970.

Stephen Klein – Gadsden County News Service


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