After weeks of calling for an extension, via both letters and phone calls, Mark Udall welcomed the U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision to extend its filing deadline from March 25, 2013, to May 1, 2013, for Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers in Colorado to file claims related to a discrimination lawsuit to the department.
"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. I plan to continue to monitor the claims process to ensure that Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers receive a fair shake."
A group of more than 100 Hispanic farmers filed suit against the USDA in 2000. The suit, Garcia v. Vilsack, alleged that the USDA's Farm Service Agency discriminated against Hispanic farmers in the awarding of operating and disaster loans between 1981 and 2000. Through a settlement process, the USDA agreed to create a process to review claims.
Udall led a bipartisan letter to the USDA in January asking it to extend its claims deadline.