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NATIONAL YOUNG FARMERS COALITION

Latest from Young Farmers

PRESS RELEASE: LONG-AWAITED FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE APPLICATION PROCESS IS OPEN; TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED DISCRIMINATION IN USDA FARM LOAN PROCESSES

Friday, July 7th, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

For Further Information, Contact:

 

Claims Process for Section 22007 of the Inflation Reduction Act

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has just officially opened the claims process for Section 22007 of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which provides $2.2 billion in financial assistance for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners who have experienced discrimination in USDA’s farm lending programs prior to January 1, 2021. IRA Section 22007 is not a lawsuit. There is no fee to apply or to receive assistance in applying. 

Eight trusted community-based organizations are serving as cooperators with USDA and third party administrators to implement this long-awaited financial assistance program and to assist farmers and ranchers who have faced discrimination in prior farm loan processes. Those cooperators are: 

  • The Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund (FSC/LAF)
  • Rural Coalition (RC)
  • Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC
  • North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers Land Loss Prevention Project (LLPP
  • Farmers Legal Action Group (FLAG
  • National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers)
  • Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC
  • National AgrAbility Project (NAP


According to USDA, “Farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners who experienced discrimination by USDA in its farm loan programs prior to January 1, 2021 and/or are currently debtors with assigned or assumed USDA farm loan debt that were the subject of USDA discrimination that occurred prior to January 1, 2021, are eligible for this program. To apply, borrowers have the option to apply via the e-filing portal at
22007apply.gov or submit paper-based forms via mail or in-person delivery to the program’s local offices. The application process will be open from July 7, 2023 to October 31, 2023.”

The cooperators will be working together to reach and help farmers and ranchers through direct technical assistance and training sessions. All technical assistance will be free, and there is no charge to file the application. 

“We want farmers to understand the issues of eligibility,” said John Zippert, retired Director of Programs at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and current Rural Coalition Board Chair. “If you feel you have been discriminated against while seeking a USDA farm loan, or that you were not treated well in the servicing of your loan, you may be eligible.” All our Rural Coalition Team, including Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project, Latino Farmers and Ranchers International, Inc, Rural Advancement Fund of the National Sharecroppers Fund, Kansas Black Farmers Association, American Indian Mothers Inc., Latino Farmers of the Southeast, and Compañeras Campesinas, stand ready with the full team of Cooperators to help you review your eligibility for this process and prepare and present the evidence you will need to make the strongest possible claim. 

“This is an acknowledgement by USDA of the injustice that Black, Indigenous, and other farmers of color have long suffered,” noted Savi Horne, Director of the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers Land Loss Prevention Project. “This process is the best we have right now, and we must make it work for the farmers who have suffered at the hands of the USDA, those whose operations have been hobbled because of a long history of racism and racial exclusion. Our goal is to give them a fighting chance to be the viable producers they are capable of becoming, if given a level playing field.”

“Farmers with disabilities are routinely assumed unable to farm, leading to discrimination at all levels of the farming industry. Loan processes are no exception,” said Bill Field of AgrAbility. “Our mission over the years has been to increase access for disabled farmers to all programs available to farmers. We know that disabled farmers and ranchers have been discriminated against, and we are committed to supporting them in making the best possible case for this financial assistance.” 

“For the past 15 years the Farmer Veteran Coalition has served our national membership of 40,000 members in their transition from military service to agricultural production. Our farmers are underserved beginning producers who may be part of socially disadvantaged communities. We are honored to be asked to partner with the USDA in their effort to ensure America’s Veterans impacted by discrimination are aware of this process and will have the opportunity to submit their application for consideration,” says Executive Director of FVC Jeanette Lombardo. 

We also urge eligible farmers and ranchers not to fall victim to some lawyers and other groups spreading misleading information about this process, pressuring people to sign retainer agreements that legally bind them to share a portion of any award. Filling out the application is free, and there is no charge for assistance by the Cooperators listed here. For more information, please read the USDA fact sheet about the program timeline and ways to protect against possible scams.   

Assistance with Applying 

It is important that the financial assistance application submitted by farmers is properly filled out. The cooperators identified here have been designated and trained to provide farmers with technical assistance in the application process. Neither designated cooperators nor the USDA will make the decision regarding who is awarded financial assistance. The financial assistance will be decided and awarded exclusively by the designated administrators.

Borrowers have the option to apply via the e-filing portal at 22007apply.gov or submit paper-based forms via mail or in-person delivery to the program’s local offices between  July 7 to October 31, 2023. Applications will be reviewed in November and December, with payments reaching recipients soon thereafter. The application process is not on a first come, first served, basis. All applications received or postmarked before the October 31 deadline will be considered.

If you believe you may be eligible for IRA Section 22007, please reach out to any of the contacts at the top of this press release. The following designated cooperator informational sessions have also been scheduled to introduce farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to the financial assistance application process: 

  • Friday July 7th, 12:00 pm ET: Federation of Southern Cooperatives invites Black farmers & landowners to join an important update regarding Section 22007 of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
  • Friday July 7th, 7:00 pm ET: Rural Coalition, Farmers Legal Action Group, Land Loss Prevention Project and National Young Farmers Coalition invite all farmers, ranchers and forest landowners who have experienced discrimination in USDA farm loans to join us for important details on the application process for financial assistance.
  • Friday July 14th, 11:00 am CT: Stephen Carpenter, Farmers Legal Action Group
  • Thursday, July 13, 9:00 pm ET: Intertribal Agriculture Council invites Tribal Producers (farmers, ranchers, forest landowners) who have experienced discrimination in USDA lending programs to join in to discuss: “What is discrimination?”, How to prepare for filing a Section 22007 discrimination claim, and Questions/concerns you may have about the Section 22007 discrimination program. 
    • Zoom Registration here. Visit indianag.org for information about future discussions—virtual and in-person.
  • Friday July 14th, 11:00 am CT: Farmer Veteran Coalition Webinar with Stephen Carpenter from Farmers Legal Action Group. During this webinar, Stephen will discuss precedents for IRA Section 22007, how producers may be impacted, and provide in-depth review of the application process. Register here.
  • Additionally, Farmer Veteran Coalition recently recorded a podcast episode on the Vets in Ag Podcast titled “Understanding Discrimination Financial Assistance Program (22007).” Listen here


Access this press release at
tinyurl.com/22007-cooperator-press-release

Access USDA’s press release here: https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2023/07/07/financial-assistance-application-process-opens-usda-farm-loan

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