What is in this article?:
- Love v Vilsack alleges USDA discriminated against women farmers trying to secure loans.
- USDA announces claimant process.
Have you been meeting with women around the country?
“We’ve been contacted by women farmers who are interested in making sure their discrimination claims are addressed.”
A region of the country where more women farm?
“Women farmers are the fastest growing segment of farmers in the United States, and they are throughout the fifty states. What we’ve found is that in all 50 states is women have been underrepresented in terms of the number of USDA farm loan dollars and number of USDA farm loans awarded. That is striking.”
Is the common story like with the black farmers’ lawsuit where they’d go into an FSA office and not receive the proper application and/or considerations?
“Yes, that’s a typical story. And there are others, far worse.
“Many of the women farmers were refused application forms, while the men standing in line with them were able to get the forms. The excuses the women received did not measure up: ‘sorry, we’re out of applications’ or ‘we’ve run out of money’ or ‘come back next year.’
“Many were told by USDA officials that farming isn’t women’s work and to instead leave it to their husband, brother or father.
“In other instances, the women got applications but their loans were denied. They believe it was for no other reason than that they are women. They believe they were fully, or equally, qualified as their male neighbors who received loans.
“There were also women who somehow initially got a loan – often either through their husband or their father. But they were then denied subsequent loans or servicing on the farm loan they had.”
Any idea for how many potential claimants are out there?
“The most recent agriculture census data reports there are over 300,000 women principal farm operators in the United States, and growing.”
On how the Love case could be funded…
“The government’s proposed claims process for women and Hispanic farmers (Garcia) is expected to be funded through the administration’s Judgment Fund.”
On interactions with the government…
“We certainly hope the government will address the serious concerns women farmers have raised regarding the proposed claims processing program. We think there are some great concerns and deficiencies in that program – not the least of which is the differential treatments of women and Hispanic farmers in contrast to other minority farmers.”
Are you anticipating Love will be made a class action?
“The federal court denied the Love plaintiffs’ motion for class certification.”
For more on Love, see: