Faced generations of legal discrimination
by NNPA Newswire
On July 7, 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the opening of the Discrimination Financial Assistance Program (DFAP). This program, established through Section 22007 of the Inflation Reduction Act, provides $2.2 billion in financial assistance to eligible farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners who experienced discrimination in USDA farm lending prior to January 2021.
Stakeholders and program administrators, along with USDA officials, are conducting community outreach to raise awareness about the program. When the program opened, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack affirmed the Department’s commitment to providing financial assistance to those who faced discrimination in USDA farm lending as swiftly and efficiently as possible.
“USDA will continue to work with its national vendor partners and community-based organizations to ensure that eligible farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners have clear information about what is available to them, how to apply, and where to obtain assistance with their questions at each step of the way,” said Secretary Vilsack.
The Inflation Reduction Act specifies that the Secretary of Agriculture is responsible for providing this financial assistance through qualified nongovernmental entities, under standards set by USDA. The official program administrators are Midtown Group, which serves as the National Administrator for the program; Windsor Group, which is responsible for outreach and assistance in states east of the Mississippi River, and Analytic Acquisitions, which serves states West of the Mississippi River.
Producers have the option to apply via the e-filing portal at 22007apply.gov or by submitting paper-based forms via mail or in-person delivery to the program’s local offices. English- and Spanish-language applications are available.
Technical assistance is available for potential applicants through four regional hubs working closely with community-based organizations to conduct extensive outreach using digital and grassroots strategies. This ensures that potential applicants are informed about the program and understand how to complete the application. Additionally, local events and brick-and-mortar offices are part of a comprehensive outreach process designed to provide farmers and ranchers with multiple options for gaining assistance at no cost.
For more information about DFAP, visit the official website at 22007apply.gov. Additionally, the website provides comprehensive information on obtaining in-person or virtual technical assistance, supplementary program resources, and detailed program guidelines. The program also offers a call center, (800) 721-0970, which is open from 8 a.m. ET to 8 p.m. PT, seven days a week, except for Federal holidays. The call center has English and Spanish-speaking agents.