The Farm Advocacy Program continues to operate through the LIC, with Mrs. Betty Puckett working as-needed, on a contractual basis. The LIC continues to offer small emergency grants (as available), to farmer’s in distress, to help with their personal/household discretionary needs.
Farm Aid - Narrative Report
for March 2016 Annual Assembly
From: Betty Puckett, Farm Advocate
Summary of Work and Activities September, 2015 - March, 2016
Many of the hotline calls from farmers continue to be referred to me by Farm Aid. Working with the LIC since 1986, I have counseled farmers, including women, black, and Hispanic claimants, from various states, even as far away as California. Most of the calls are from individuals that I have assisted in the past. Often their claims or situations take years to resolve. Some recent activities:
Worked with a cattle farmer from Mississippi (black female); a retired row crop farmer from Mississippi who is disputing his FSA debt (black male); a cattle farmer from West Virginia (white male); a sharecropper from Louisiana (white female); a cattle farmer from California (white female); and two retired farmers from Louisiana who filed successful gender discrimination complaints against FSA (white females).
Assisted in the final debt settlement of FSA debt in a case after many years of dispute.
Counseled an FSA borrower regarding tax consequences of debt write off and referred her to IRS Publication 225.
Assisted with an FSA case referred to Treasury Offset Program (TOP) by disputing the validity of the debt since FSA had agreed to settle the debt after voluntary liquidation of the chattels. TOP referred the debt to a third party collection agency and we wrote a letter disputing the validity of the debt and to cease further contact since it would violate the Debt Collection Practices Act.
Still working on another FSA case where they are still trying to collect a debt through administrative offset even though the debt should have been settled when the borrower liquidated all assets.
And then there are the farmers we worked with who needed emergency grants. As always, when grant funds are available, I check to see if those struggling with finances qualify for a grant. We do not offer grants for the cost of farm operations (per IRS limitations), but rather the grants are for household needs and/or medical bills, when farm families are in distress.
As always, it is our hope to reach farmers most in need.
YOUR help is appreciated in spreading the word to the farmers in your respective areas!