Hispanic and Women Farmers Claims Assistance Network

  • Location:
    360 North Robert Street, Suite 500
    St. Paul, MN 55101
  • Phone: (651) 223-5400
  • Fax: (651) 223-5335
  • Email: HWFRCP@flaginc.org

The Hispanic and Women Farmers Claims Assistance Network
Through contracts with USDA, both Farmers' Legal Action Group, Inc., and the National Agricultural Law Center are developing, training, and communicating with a network of lawyers and law school clinics that will provide individual assistance to Hispanic and women farmer claimants in completing and submitting claims forms. The Rural Coalition is conducting outreach to potential claimants. None of these named organizations or USDA may provide direct individualized legal advice to or represent claimants in this claims process. The goal of this project is to organize and train a network of lawyers and law school clinic participates that can provide this direct, individualized legal advice and representationin a non-adversarial, non-judicial process to resolve past claims of discrimination in USDA Farm Loan Programs.

Discrimination Lawsuits and Claims Processes
As part of USDA's efforts to make civil rights matters a top priority, USDA is committed to resolving past claims of discrimination in its farm loan programs. In recent years, USDA entered into settlement agreements in certified class action lawsuits filed on behalf of African American and Native American farmers. Class counsel assisted thousands of farmers to file their individual claims under those settlement agreements.

Lawsuits alleging past discrimination in USDA Farm Loan Programs were also filed on behalf of Hispanic farmers and women farmers. However, these cases were not certified as class actions. The United States government established a voluntary claims process to make available $1.33 billion or more to farmers who alleged discrimination by the USDA based on being female, or based on being Hispanic, in making or servicing farm loans during certain periods between 1981 and 2000. This non-adversarial, non-judicial claims process will be administered by the same neutrals that issued decisions in and managed the claims processes for African American and Native American farmers. Lawyers and law school clinics are needed to assist Hispanic and women farmers prepare and file their claims.

Period for Filing Claims: September, 2012 through February, 2013.
To find out more or indicate interest in assisting claimants, please reply to this message by completing the following and returning by facsimile to (651) 223-5335 or email at HWFRCP@flaginc.org, or call (651) 223-5400.

Informational Webinar
Informational webinar for attorneys interested in learning more about the HWFRCP network.
Thursday, September 13, 2012 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Central Time
The webinar will provide participating attorneys with a brief summary of the HWFRCP and how they can become part of the national referral network of attorneys willing to assist potential claimants in completing the official HWFRCP claims form.

To participate in the webinar, simply click https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/aglaw at 11:00 Central Time.
Prior to joining the webinar, please visit the following URL to confirm your ability to connect to the server: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/testconnect/.

  • State(s) of Volunteer Opportunity: Oklahoma
  • Area of law: Civil Rights
  • Populations Served: Hispanic Farmers & Women Farmers
  • Need for non-English services: Spanish
  • Hours for Pro Bono Opportunities: Flexible
  • Malpractice insurance is provided for volunteers: No
  • Training Provided: Yes
  • Training Required: Yes
  • CLE credit for trainings: Yes
  • Training / Supervision Comments: • Free Legal Education Seminar—in-person or web-based training seminar explaining information needed to assist claimants, including details of this discrimination claims process, the USDA Farm Loan Programs covered by the claims process, and eligibility criteria for claimants. • Free Legal Education Materials—a training manual that includes detailed descriptions of USDA Farm Loan Programs, a sample claim form, tips for completing the claim form, and explanation of the claims procedures and decision framework. CLE credit will be applied for in each state that training occurs. • Participation in Referral Network for Claimants: upon completion of the legal education training and with a commitment to participate, lawyers and law school clinics will be included on a referral list available to thousands of potential claimants through the website of the Hispanic and Women Farmers Claims Assistance Network and that will be referenced in hundreds of outreach meetings for potential claimants that will be held throughout the nation. • Expert Support During Claims Process—lawyers with expertise on the USDA Farm Loan Programs and this discrimination claims process will be available throughout the 6 month claims filing period to answer questions from lawyers and law school clinics that participated in training and are included on the referral network.
  • CLE credit for pro bono: No
  • Mentoring or supervision offered: Yes
  • Volunteer lawyers need to meet a caseload or hours requirement: Yes
  • Other Project Types: Providing advice on eligibility to file a discrimination claim in this claims process and assisting claimants in preparing and filing the claims form and supporting documents
  • Long Distance Opportunities: Draft or Translate Legal Documents
  • Volunteers may participate long-distance: Yes
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