All Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices nationwide will reopen on January 24, to provide additional administrative services to farmers and ranchers during the lapse in federal funding, according to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
Certain FSA offices have been providing limited services for existing loans and tax documents since January 17 and will continue to do so through January 23.
“The FSA provides vital support for farmers and ranchers and they count on those services being available. We want to offer as much assistance as possible until the partial government shutdown is resolved,” Perdue said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has temporarily recalled all of the more than 9,700 FSA employees to keep offices open from 8 am to 4:30 pm weekdays beginning January 24. President Donald Trump has already signed legislation that guarantees employees will receive all backpay missed during the lapse in funding.
Additionally, Secretary Perdue announced that the deadline to apply for the Market Facilitation Program, which aids farmers harmed by unjustified retaliatory tariffs, has been extended to February 14. The original deadline had been January 15.
For the first two full weeks under this operating plan (January 28 through February 1 and February 4 through February 8), FSA offices will be open Mondays through Fridays. In subsequent weeks, offices will be open three days a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, if needed to provide the additional administrative services.
Agricultural producers who have business with the agency can contact their FSA service center to make an appointment.
FSA offices will provide the following services:
- Market Facilitation Program.
- Marketing Assistance Loans.
- Release of collateral warehouse receipts.
- Direct and Guaranteed Farm Operating Loans, and Emergency Loans.
- Service existing Conservation Reserve Program contracts.
- Sugar Price Support Loans.
- Dairy Margin Protection Program.
- Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage.
- Livestock Forage Disaster.
- Emergency Assistance Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program.
- Livestock Indemnity Program.
- Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
- Tree Assistance Program.
- Remaining Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program payments for applications already processed.
Services that will not be available:
- New Conservation Reserve Program contracts.
- New Direct and Guaranteed Farm Ownership Loans.
- Farm Storage Facility Loan Program.
- New or in-process Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program applications.
- Emergency Conservation Program.
- Emergency Forest Rehabilitation Program.
- Biomass Crop Assistance Program.
- Grassroots Source Water Protection Program.
Updates to available services and offices will be made during the lapse in federal funding on the FSA shutdown webpage (https://www.fsa.usda.gov/help/shutdowninfo). Programs managed by FSA that were re-authorized by the 2018 farm bill will be available at a later date yet to be determined, according to the USDA press release.