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USDA extends deadline
to file in discrimination case
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the extension of the voluntary claims process for Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who allege discrimination by the USDA in past decades. All claims must now be filed by May 1.
This is an ongoing issue that was the subject of several workshops around the state, including one in Simpsonville last year that was attended by federal and state agricultural leaders.
"Hispanic and women farmers who believe they have faced discriminatory practices in the past from the USDA have additional time to file a claim in order to have a chance to receive a cash payment or loan forgiveness," Vilsack said in a release announcing the extension. "USDA urges potential claimants to contact the claims administrator for information and to file their claim packages.”
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.
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. Claimants may register for a claims package or may download the forms from the USDA’s Web site.
Ag aid for veterans
Veterans pursuing careers in agriculture might benefit from two programs launched earlier this year by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer said Kentucky Proud Homegrown by Heroes and Jobs for Vets are aimed at paying back the men and women who served in the military.The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that the unemployment rate of post 9/11 veterans saw some improvement last year, but still hovers at about 9.9 percent.
"I thought we could expand the Kentucky Proud program to have a special initiative for veterans," Comer said. "I believe consumers in Kentucky would support our veteran farmers."
Comer said the Homegrown by Heroes logo was designed so farmers participating in the program could use it on their signage and as stickers on products, making them easily distinguishable to consumers.
Comer said the Department of Agriculture buys the stickers and signs in large quantities and then sells them to farmers signed up for the program at cost.
"The Kentucky Proud Program is a free business. We get our funding exclusively from the tobacco settlement," Comer said. "You can buy hundreds of the stickers for pennies."
Military veteran farmers interested in participating in Homegrown by Heroes can call Ben Shaffar at 502-564-4983 or send an Email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rabbits to hit Louisville
Rabbit breeders from all over the United Statesand some from Canada, Europe, Japan, Malaysia and other countries will be at the Kentucky Exposition Center on April 13-14 for the 2013 Kentucky Cup Rabbit Show.
Thirteen breeds will host their national shows on April 13. There also will be specialty shows for 15 breeds that day. On April 14, there will be a double all-breed show in which all of the 47 ARBA recognized breeds may compete for Best of Breed then on to the judging for Best in Show.
The shows begin at 9 each morning and continue until all of the rabbits are judged. For more information, visit www.ksrba.webs.com.
4-H Homecoming is April 20
The Kentucky 4-H Homecoming, the annual signature event for the Kentucky 4-H Foundation, will be at 6 p.m. April 20 at The Hilton Garden Inn in Georgetown.This annual event reconnects former 4-H’ers with each other 4-H alumni as well as with friends, volunteers and supporters of Kentucky 4-H.
The evening will include a reception, dinner, silent auction, slideshow of historic photos and a Homecoming program. The dress is casual. and a cash bar will be available. Tickets are $40 per person. and RSVPs should be made by April 12. New to this year’s Homecoming is an optional outing at Keeneland on April 21. Tickets for that event are $10 per person when ordered by Monday.
To register for both events or for more information, visit www.kentucky4hfoundation.org
The Kentucky Ag Report is compiled weekly from news releases distributed by Keeton Communications, the Kentucky Press News Service.