As part of continued efforts to close the chapter on allegations that discrimination occurred at USDA in past decades, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General Tony West announced the establishment of a process to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who assert that they were discriminated against when seeking USDA farm loans.

"The Obama administration has made it a priority to resolve all claims of past discrimination at USDA, and we are committed to closing this sad chapter in USDA's history," said Vilsack. "Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who allege past discrimination can now come forward to participate in a claims process in which they have the opportunity to receive compensation."

"Under the resolution announced today, USDA and Hispanic and women farmers will be able to move forward and focus on the future," said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. "The administrative process being established will give Hispanic and women farmers who believe they suffered discrimination the chance to have their claims heard."

The claims process offers a streamlined alternative to litigation and 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. This announcement follows the Obama administration's settlement of longstanding litigation brought by African American farmers and Native American farmers.