U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that all Farm Service Agency offices nationwide will soon reopen to provide additional administrative services to farmers and ranchers during the lapse in federal funding. 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. Beginning January 24, however, all FSA offices will open and offer a longer list of transactions they will accommodate.
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 Feb. 14. The original deadline had been Jan. 15. Other program deadlines may be modified and will be announced as they are addressed.
“At President Trump’s direction, we have been working to alleviate the effects of the lapse in federal funding as best we can, and we are happy to announce the reopening of FSA offices for certain services,” Perdue said. “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.”
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 Jan. 24. President Trump has already signed legislation that guarantees employees will receive all backpay missed during the lapse in funding.
For the first two full weeks under this operating plan (Jan. 28 through Feb. 1 and Feb. 4-8), 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.
Source: The Ledger Independent