Udall vows to help Hispanic farmers get 'fair shake' in discrimination case

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision is welcome news for Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers throughout Colorado," Udall said. "This extension, which I have fought for over the past several weeks, will ensure that victims of discrimination by the Farm Service Agency have the time they need to prove that they were discriminated against.”

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The USDA's Farm Service Agency settled a discrimination lawsuit in 2000, where Hispanic farmers claimed they were discriminated against in the awarding of operating and disaster loans between 1981 and 2000.

As part of the settlement process, the negatively affected farmers have to submit evidence and claims in order to receive their settlement award — victims now have an additional month to file the paperwork.

“I plan to continue to monitor the claims process to ensure that Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers receive a fair shake," Udall said Sunday.

Udall said that, because some of the incidents of discrimination happened potentially 30 years ago, it was difficult for the farmers to obtain written evidence, but that an extension of the deadline could be helpful to some.

“Extending the claims period will provide a better opportunity for achieving justice by ensuring that claimants have full and fair considerations of their claims,” Udall wrote in a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack earlier this year.

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