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The Associated Press April 14, 2011, 11:23AM ET

Claims process to open for Hispanic, women farmers

The Farm Service Agency has set up a process to resolve claims by Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who say they were discriminated against when seeking farm loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The FSA chief for Minnesota, Linda Hennen, says the USDA will open a 180-day claims period this summer. She says the process provides at least $1.33 billion in compensation, plus up to $160 million in farm debt relief, to eligible Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers.

The agency says the program will pay up to $50,000 for those who can show that the USDA denied them a loan or loan servicing for discriminatory reasons for certain periods between 1981 and 2000. Those who provide additional proof and meet other requirements can get a $50,000 reward.

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