Act Now: USDA Discrimination Financial Assistance Deadline Looms
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is warning agricultural producers - including forest landowners, farmers, and ranchers - that the deadline to apply for the Discrimination Financial Assistance Program (DFAP) is on January 13, 2024.
What is DFAP?
The Discrimination Financial Assistance Program is outlined under Section 22007 of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). It provides financial assistance to producers who experienced discrimination in the USDA's farm lending prior to January 1, 2021. This also includes debtors with assigned or assumed USDA farm loan debt that was the subject of USDA discrimination that occurred prior to January 1, 2021.
Discrimination is based on race, national origin or ethnicity (including status as a member of a Native American Tribe), sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, marital status, disability, or in reprisal/retaliation for prior civil rights activity. Incomplete applications will be evaluated based on the information provided, with no additional hearings, appeals, or other processes.
How to apply for DFAP
Applications may be submitted online through the program website at 22007apply.gov, in person at a DFAP local office, or by mail. There is no cost to apply for this program and free technical assistance is available. More information can be found on the program website or by calling 1-800-721-0970. Offices will remain open until 8:00 p.m. local time and the call center will be available until midnight PST on the day of the deadline.
Applications submitted after the following deadlines will not receive consideration:
- Applications submitted by mail (including overnight mail) must be postmarked no later than January 13, 2024.
- Applications submitted in person at a local office must be received by 8 p.m. local time on January 13, 2024.
- Applications submitted online must be submitted (not merely started) by 11:59 p.m. PST on January 13, 2024. Online submissions must use the website portal—applications and supporting documentation received by email are not able to be considered.
- After the application deadline, local offices will be open until January 17, 2024, to allow for timely drop off of supporting documents for applications submitted by January 13, 2024, but applications will not be accepted after January 13, 2024. All customer offices will be closed starting January 18, 2024. All customer offices will be closed starting January 18, 2024.
The program’s call center will remain open until after program payments are made, from 8 a.m. EST to 8 p.m. PST, with English- and Spanish- speaking agents available, seven days per week (except Federal holidays) for the next several weeks, and weekdays after February 18, 2024.
USDA remains committed to equity
The USDA's Discrimination Financial Assistance program is one part of multiple efforts to "rebuild trust, address systemic issues, and improve service to people who may have been underserved by USDA in the past."
The USDA Equity website defines equity as follows:
... the consistent and systematic treatment of all individuals in a fair, just, and impartial manner, including individuals who belong to communities that often have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander persons and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; women and girls; LGBTQI+ persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; persons who live in United States Territories; persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality; and individuals who belong to multiple such communities.
The USDA is actively working to reduce barriers to its programs, direct programs to those who need them the most, expand equitable access to the USDA nutrition assistance program, and operate with more transparency and accountability.
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