For Immediate Release
December 15, 2011
Ethel Truly 601-965-4300, ext.102
Those Eligible Must File Claims No Later than December 27, 2011
WASHINGTON, December 15, 2011 – Janie Hipp, Senior Adviser for Tribal Relations to Thomas Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, today reminded Native American farmers and ranchers that the period to file a claim in the Keepseagle class action settlement will end on December 27, 2011.
“Native American farmers and ranchers who believe they are entitled to funds under the Keepseagle settlement must file a claim before the December 27 deadline in order to have the opportunity to receive a cash payment or loan forgiveness,” said Ms. Hipp. “Tribal leaders may want to remind Tribal members of the requirement to obtain and submit a completed claims package if they wish to participate in the Keepseagle claims process. The time to do so is now.”
Keepseagle v. Vilsack was a lawsuit alleging that USDA discriminated against Native American farmers and ranchers in the way it operated its farm loan program. The lawsuit was settled late last year, and the settlement has been approved by the court.
The filing period opened June 29, 2011, and continues for 180 days, until December 27, 2011.
Up to $760 million will be made available in monetary relief, debt relief, and tax relief to successful claimants. The amount available to any one successful claimant will depend upon the standard of proof met by the claimant.
Claimants who need information or assistance in filling out a claims package should visit the Keepseagle claims website or call claimant services at the number below. Claimants must register for a claims package (by calling the number or visiting the website), and a claims package will be mailed. Keepseagle class counsel will also assist individuals by telephone during this last month of the claims filing period.
The website is: www.indianfarmclass.com
The call number is: 888-233-5506
Claims period: June 29, 2011 to December 27, 2011
This announcement does not relate to claims by African American, women or Hispanic farmers. Those claims are subject to different processes, and information will be forthcoming in the coming months.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).