Department of Agriculture: Improvements in the Operations of the Civil Rights Program Would Benefit Hispanic and Other Minority Farmers

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Farm Service Agency (FSA) runs a direct loan program that provides loans to farmers who are unable to obtain private commercial credit to buy and operate farms. FSA is required to administer this program in a fair, unbiased manner. GAO found that during fiscal years 2000 and 2001, FSA averaged 4 days longer to process loan applications from Hispanic farmers than it did for non-Hispanic farmers: 20 days versus 16 days. However, the processing times in three of the four states with the highest number ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. September 20, 2002.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Farm Service Agency (FSA) runs a direct loan program that provides loans to farmers who are unable to obtain private commercial credit to buy and operate farms. FSA is required to administer this program in a fair, unbiased manner. GAO found that during fiscal years 2000 and 2001, FSA averaged 4 days longer to process loan applications from Hispanic farmers than it did for non-Hispanic farmers: 20 days versus 16 days. However, the processing times in three of the four states with the highest number of Hispanic borrowers was faster that it was for non-Hispanic borrowers in those states. FSA's direct loan approval rate was somewhat lower for Hispanic farmers than for non-Hispanic farmers nationwide--83 and 90 percent, respectively. The Department of Agriculture's (USDA) policies for staying foreclosures when discrimination has been alleged depend on the method used to lodge complaints. When an individual has a discrimination complaint accepted by USDA's Office of Civil Rights (OCR), FSA's policy is to automatically issue a stay of foreclosure until the complaint has been resolved. A GAO survey revealed that during fiscal years 2000 and 2001, FSA foreclosed on the loans of 600 borrowers nationwide. Although Hispanic farmers make up 4 percent of the agency's direct loan portfolio, 3 percent of these foreclosures involved Hispanic farmers. OCR has made modest progress in the length of time it takes to process discrimination complaints. USDA requirements direct OCR to complete its processing up through the investigative phase of complaints within 180 days of acceptance. It does not, however, have a time requirement for all of the phases of complaint processing."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • September 20, 2002

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Department of Agriculture: Improvements in the Operations of the Civil Rights Program Would Benefit Hispanic and Other Minority Farmers, report, September 20, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc295208/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.