Ag report: Feb. 15, 2013

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By The Staff

USDA still seeking claims of Hispanic, women discrimination


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a statement to remind Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who allege discrimination by the USDA in past decades that there are 45 days remaining in the filing period closing March 25.

There was a public hearing about this issue at Simpsonville late last year.

The process offers a voluntary alternative to litigation for each Hispanic or female farmer and rancher who can prove that USDA denied his or her application for loan or loan servicing assistance for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000. As announced in February 2011, the voluntary claims process will make available at least $1.33 billion for cash awards and tax relief payments, plus up to $160 million in farm debt relief, to eligible Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers. There are no filing fees to participate in the program.

Call center representatives can be reached at 888-508-4429 between 9 a.m. and8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Claimants may register for a claims package (by calling the number or visiting the Web site) or may download the forms from www.farmerclaims.gov.

Independent legal services companies will administer the claims process and adjudicate the claims. Although there are no filing fees to participate and a lawyer is not required to participate in the claims process, persons seeking legal advice may contact a lawyer or other legal services provider.


Special funds for disadvantaged farmers 

USDA Farm Service Agency reserves funds each year to make loans to socially disadvantaged applicants to buy and operate family-size farms. A socially disadvantaged farmer is one of a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of the group without regard to their individual qualities. For the purposes of this program, socially disadvantaged groups have been defined as women, Blacks or African Americans, American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders.

Repayment terms for direct operating loans depend on the collateral securing the

loan and usually run from 1 to 7 years. Repayment terms on direct ownership loans

are up to 40 years. Guaranteed loan terms (made through commercial lenders, i.e.

bank) are set by the lender.

For information on participating lenders, contact the FSA office in Breighton Park in Shelbyville.


Minority requirements

Kentucky USDA Farm Service Agency Director John W. McCauley reminds foreign persons with an interest in agricultural lands in the United States that they are required to report their holdings and any transactions to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Foreign investors must file Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA) reports with the FSA county office that maintains reports for the county where the land is located.
For AFIDA purposes, agricultural land is defined as any land used for farming, ranching or timber production, if the tracts total 10 acres or more.

For more information, contact the FSA office in Shelbyville or visit www.usda.gov.


Ag contest extended

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer announced that the deadline for submitting entries to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s annual Poster and Essay Contest has been extended to Feb. 22.

Kentucky students in kindergarten through grade 12 are invited to create posters and essays based on the theme “Agriculture Grows My Community.” All artwork and writing must be exclusively student created. Essays and posters will be featured in department publications and special events.
For more information, including contest rules and entry forms, visit www.kyagr.com/marketing/poster-essay-contest.html or contact Elizabeth McNulty at (502) 564-4983 or elizabeth.mcnulty@ky.gov.

Horse show honored 

The second-year production of the Alltech National Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park once again received a top ranking from NARG, the North American Riders Group. The show was staged last fall in the Alltech Arena.


Bulletin board

  • The National Farm Machinery Show Championship Tractor Pull will be continue through Saturday in Freedom Hall in Louisville, with five pulls at 7:30 p.m. each evening and at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Reserved tickets are $40 and $45, depending upon the day. Ticket sales begin at 10 a.m. Monday.
  • Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Certification program will be 11 a.m. Feb. 27 at the Shelby County Extension Office.
  • The Shelby County Extension Office has set a tobacco production GAP training program for March 5 at the office on Frankfort Road. The session will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch will be provided, and reservations can be made by calling 633-4593.
  • The Shelby County Cooperative Extension Service is offering classes on food gardening that runs each Wednesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. through April 10. The classes are free, but seating is limited, so you must reserve a spot by Tuesday. To reserve your space, call 633-4593.
  •  Shelby County 4-H Camp Enrollment forms are available at the extension office or printed from http://ces.ca.uky.edu/shelby. Camp Dates will be July 9-12. Space will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. For more information, call 633-4593.

The Kentucky Ag Report is compiled weekly from news releases distributed by Keeton Communications, the Kentucky Press News Service.