LOUISIANA (WNTZ) – For a long time, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was in hot water for denying loans, credit, representation, and opportunities to a lot of farmers, especially those from diverse backgrounds. These unjust practices hit farmers of color particularly hard, leading to them losing land and facing major financial struggles.

The discrimination took different forms, like slapping farmers with unfair loan terms, putting them through tough loan requirements, not offering the help they needed, dragging their feet on loan applications, flat-out refusing loans or loan services, and sometimes, not even letting them apply. It’s a dark chapter in American agriculture, and it’s weighed heavily on the affected farmers.

But now, there’s a glimmer of hope. The USDA has rolled out the Discrimination Financial Assistance Program (DFAP), a big move aimed at making amends for past mistakes and providing vital financial support to those who’ve faced years of discrimination in the farming world. And in this crucial endeavor, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives stands strong as an advocate for these farmers, ensuring they get the help they need and the justice they deserve. Together, they’re working to level the playing field and right the wrongs of history, offering hope to farmers who’ve long awaited fairness and equity in agriculture.

Especially in the 1960’s-1990s, there were little, means or want to document in-business discrimination. Andrew, the Federation of Southern Cooperative’s field accountant explains, “Our job is to make sure you don’t miss programs like the Discrimination Financial Assistance Program (DFAP), and that the applicant’s story can be heard.” If you feel like you have been treated unfairly by the USDA, now is the time to speak your piece.

Federation of Southern Cooperatives Louisiana field office is located at 3717 Prescott Road in Alexandria, La. They’re office is open from 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday, and filled with advocates dedicated to the agricultural community.