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USDA extends Discrimination Program filing deadline

Because of weather and deadline response, the deadline for DFAP applications has been extended.

Forrest Laws

January 15, 2024

3 Min Read
USDA Building
USDA and program administrators want to be sure all remaining applicants have full ability to submit their discrimination program applications, and therefore will continue to accept submissions for two full business days after the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday.Art Wagner/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Farmers, ranchers and landowners who experienced discrimination in USDA’s farm lending programs prior to 2021 now have until Jan. 17 to file an application for payments through the Inflation Reduction Act’s Section 22007 program.

Although the deadline for the 22007 applications was Jan. 13, USDA announced on its Discrimination Financial Assistance Program (22007apply.gov) portal on Sunday (Jan. 14) that growers could apply through Jan. 17.

“Due to a number of circumstances, including severe winter weather conditions in the Midwest that may have prevented some applicants from reaching local program offices and a brief outage of the e-filing platform, the Discrimination Financial Assistance Program will accept applications through Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024,” USDA said.

In the six months that the application period has been open, tens of thousands of applications have been received by mail, through the e-filing portal, and via in-person delivery at local Discrimination Financial Assistance Program offices nationwide. USDA and the program administrators want to be sure all remaining applicants have full ability to submit their applications, and therefore will continue to accept submissions for two full business days after the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday.”

Besides the blizzard conditions that have hit the nation’s midsection, the 22007apply.gov website displayed a “504 Gateway Timeout” message for some time on Friday night, Jan. 12, preventing applications from being submitted online.

New deadlines

Using the new deadlines, USDA said there are three ways to submit an application:

  • Applications submitted by mail (including overnight mail) must be postmarked no later than Jan. 17, 2024.

  • Applications submitted in person at a local Discrimination Financial Assistance Program office must be received by 8 p.m. local time on Jan. 17, 2024.

  • Applications submitted online must be submitted (not merely started) by midnight PST on Jan. 17, 2024 / 3 a.m. EST on Jan. 18, 2024. Online submissions must use the website portal—applications and supporting documentation received by email are not able to be considered.

There is no cost to apply for the program and free technical assistance is available from apply22007 program locations and call centers, USDA said. (The National Black Farmers Association said it continues to receive reports of farmers being charged fees by attorneys to file applications.)

The full list of offices and their operating hours, as well as FAQs and other program information, can be found at 22007apply.gov. The program’s call center, available at 1-800-721-0970, will be open from 8 a.m. EST to 8 p.m. PST on Sunday, Jan. 14, and on Tuesday, Jan. 16; it will be closed on Monday, Jan. 15, due to the Federal holiday.

On Wednesday, Jan. 17, the call center will have extended hours from 8 a.m. EST to midnight PST, to support online application filings.

Consistent with previous plans, 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 Feb. 18, 2024. All customer offices will be closed starting Jan. 18, 2024.

Claim reminder

As a reminder, for the purposes of this program, a claim of discrimination may be based on different treatment you experienced because of 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, USDA said.

The information submitted through the application form is the only application requirement for this program. Incomplete applications will be evaluated on the basis of the information that is included. There will not be any hearings, appeals, or other processes to apply to this program.

About the Author(s)

Forrest Laws

Forrest Laws spent 10 years with The Memphis Press-Scimitar before joining Delta Farm Press in 1980. He has written extensively on farm production practices, crop marketing, farm legislation, environmental regulations and alternative energy. He resides in Memphis, Tenn. He served as a missile launch officer in the U.S. Air Force before resuming his career in journalism with The Press-Scimitar.

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