On July 7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that they are accepting applications for $2.2 billion in financial assistance to farmers who have experienced discrimination in USDA farm lending programs. Authorized by Section 22007 of the Inflation Reduction Act, the Discrimination Financial Assistance Program (DFAP) will provide payments to farmers once the application and review process has concluded.
There is no fee to apply. USDA has selected a list of “cooperators” who will provide free technical assistance to farmers throughout the DFAP application process—a lawyer or legal services is not required to apply. Eligible applicants must submit an application online or in-person at a regional office by October 31, 2023. For more information, visit 22007apply.gov or contact a designated cooperator, such as the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund.
There is no fee to apply. USDA has selected a list of “cooperators” who will provide free technical assistance to farmers throughout the DFAP application process—a lawyer or legal services is not required to apply.
Eligible applicants for DFAP include farmers, ranchers and forest landowners who experienced discrimination by USDA in farm loan programs prior to 2021 and/or current debtors with assigned or assumed USDA farm loan debt that was the subject of discrimination. Covered USDA lending programs include Farm Ownership loans, Farm Operating Loans, Microloans, Youth Loans, Farm Storage Facility Loans, Economic Emergency Loans, Emergency Livestock Loans, Soil and Water Loans, Conservation Loans, Softwood Timber Loans and Grazing Loans.
Applicants should be able to demonstrate eligibility, the basis of discrimination (i.e. race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, retaliation for prior civil rights activity, etc.), how the discrimination occurred, loss factors (i.e. land, home if used for collateral, economic, or money) and any supporting documentation. A full USDA checklist for application documentation is available here.
As USDA has announced the rollout of DFAP, they have become aware of scams and other threats to the integrity of the program. Any information related to a potential scam can be reported to the USDA Office of Inspector General through this hotline complaint website. Here are a few key guidelines to help you avoid scams when seeking assistance:
- Filing an application is free and there are no fees associated with this program.
- You are not required to hire a lawyer to apply; however, if you choose to seek the assistance of an attorney, check with trusted organizations to ensure the lawyer is competent, licensed and understands this type of case.
- You can get free assistance to help you complete the application from USDA program staff, designated cooperators and regional centers.
For any questions, please contact the resources provided above or send an email to email@example.com.