By Osborne & Francis
October 25, 2023

Women Farmers Have Faced Difficulties and Discrimination

Female farmers, who make up just over a third of farmers in the U.S., have historically been rejected for loans, given unfair terms, and unreasonably supervised as they sought farm loans. New legislation has given farmers who have experienced discrimination on the basis of gender, sex, race, and other characteristics the opportunity to recover compensation for their damages. 

The civil rights lawyers of Osborne & Francis have been at the forefront of this issue. Our team stands with female farmers and we are prepared to help you seek justice for the discrimination you have faced. We encourage you to contact our team at (561) 678-0156 or contact our offices in Boca Raton or Orlando to take advantage of a free consultation with one of our civil rights attorneys. Our team has the negotiating skills, subject matter expertise, and work ethic to maximize your compensation in a farming discrimination lawsuit.

Challenges Female Farmers Face During the Loans Process

The USDA has a well-established history of discriminatory treatment of women and minority groups. This unfortunate pattern was acknowledged with a massive settlement for Black farmers in 2010 for treatment they were subjected to in the 1980s and 1990s. A new wave of farm discrimination claims is being filed by minority groups and women who claim that they have suffered damages as a result of systemic and individual discrimination.

The USDA reports that survey data shows female farmers account for 13% of principal operators. For women who are considered principal operators, the data shows that they are older on average, and tend to manage beginner and limited resource farms as opposed to older, more established operations. In effect, their financial circumstances may already be more precarious when they seek a loan because they haven’t inherited an established operation.

Women who pursue farming loans may be perceived as less capable, less reliable, and less intelligent than their male counterparts. The effects of these implicit biases are compounded for women of color.  Due to the stereotypes they face, women are underrepresented in terms of USDA loans disbursed, which can be especially critical for farms in their early years. Over time, this means that female farmers may struggle to keep their farms afloat, make sacrifices that would have been unnecessary with the help of a loan, and even lose their farms altogether.

Women Can Pursue Compensation Under the Inflation Reduction Act

In 2022, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act. The IRA includes a provision for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners who were unfairly denied loans, grants, subject to overly stringent terms and supervision, or suffered other discriminatory acts based on factors like gender and sex to recover the value of their losses. Farmers who can provide proof of discrimination and resulting losses can potentially recover up to $500,000 each.

While the exact categories that define eligibility have not been released yet, it is safe to assume that anyone protected under the USDA’s non-discrimination policy is likely covered by the IRA, including women. It should be noted that female farmers have previously benefited from the legacy of Pigford v. Glickman, a class action lawsuit where Black farmers successfully argued that they had been subject to unfair treatment while seeking USDA farm loans and deserved compensation for damages. 

In this new wave of claims, female farmers who sought direct FSA farm loans and potentially private FSA-backed loans would qualify for compensation for damages for discrimination that occurred before January 1st, 2021. Discriminatory treatment can include:

  • Loan rejections, especially in favor of a male applicant
  • Unfair loan terms
  • Redefined loan terms without consent or notice
  • Deferral of a loan
  • Unreasonable demand for collateral
  • Unjustifiable demands for supervision

Why Should I Choose Osborne & Francis to Represent Me?

The civil rights attorneys of Osborne & Francis are committed to being formidable advocates for your best interests. That means you can count on our team to collect thorough documentation of your damages and the discrimination you endured, leverage this evidence to establish liability, and negotiate fiercely for the maximum compensation you deserve.

Our team can offer you the invaluable perspective of attorney Greg Francis. As lead counsel on the 2010 farm discrimination claims, he was critical in recovering 1.25 billion dollars for Black farmers who lost opportunities, profits, and land as a result of the discriminatory treatment they received when seeking loans.

With our experience and dedicated work ethic, the civil rights attorneys of Osborne & Francis can be an incredible asset to your claim. Our team can offer you the personal attention of a smaller firm, and the resources of a larger firm. We have earned the trust of our clients and the respect of our peers, and we welcome the opportunity to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve in a farm discrimination lawsuit.

Contact the Civil Rights Attorneys of Osborne & Francis About Your Farm Discrimination Claim

Female farmers have been a part of the fabric of the U.S.’s agricultural history since settlers first ventured west. Although often unrecognized, women have and continue to be instrumental to farming operations across the country. The USDA estimates that over half of all farms have at least one female decision-maker. 

The discriminatory attitude exhibited by USDA loan officers is not only unacceptable from a moral standpoint, but it has also cost farming families real money and prevented the accumulation of generational wealth. The civil rights attorneys of Osborne & Francis are  personal injury attorneys who have ample trial experience, meaning that we are in the optimal position to represent you if it becomes necessary to take your claim to trial to secure a fair settlement. 

Our reliable team will remain committed to maximizing your compensation throughout the claims process. You can reach out to us at (561) 678-0156 or contact our offices in Boca Raton or Orlando to schedule a free case evaluation. The civil rights attorneys of Osborne & Francis look forward to discussing the details of your farm discrimination claim with you and helping you recover the compensation you deserve.

T. Andrews

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“Attorneys Greg Francis and Ryan Fletcher at Osborne & Francis Law Firm represented me in my personal injury case.The defendant drew a line in the sand and was adamant on a settlement amount I was almost willing to accept. After the dust settled and the smoke cleared, we settled for 3 times that amount!!! When they say ‘Real Tough Lawyers,’ they mean it.”

Alfred

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Quick and fair resolution to a unique case. On advice of my own attorney, I engaged Joseph Osborne of Osborne & Francis of Boca Raton, FL. Mr. Osborne had considerable experience in cases such as mine and the results showed that. Mr. Osborne and his staff were very helpful, kept me up to date, and listened to my input. The settlement was very fair as far as I am concerned.

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