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Secretary of Agriculture announces all FSA offices to reopen

Sonny Perdue talks with Max Armstrong about the partial reopening of the offices for the coming weeks

Beginning Jan. 24, all FSA offices will open and offer a longer list of services. USDA has temporarily recalled all of the more than 9,700 FSA employees to keep offices open from 8 am to 4:30 pm weekdays. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue explains in a special interview with Max Armstrong how he worked with the Office of Management and Budgets to reopen the offices.

“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,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “We want to offer as much assistance as possible until the partial government shutdown is resolved.”

Certain FSA offices have been providing limited services Jan. 17-18 and 22. They will continue to do so on Jan. 23.

All offices closed at the close of business on Dec. 28, 2018, with the lapse in federal funding. Employees will not be paid during the shutdown, but Trump has signed legislation that guarantees employees will receive all pay missed during the federal government shutdown.

New deadline

Perdue announced the deadline to apply for the Market Facilitation Program, which aids farmers harmed by retaliatory tariffs, has been extended to Feb. 14. The original deadline was Jan. 15. Other program deadlines may be modified and will be announced as they are addressed.

Office hours

For the first two full weeks under this operating plan — Jan. 28 through Feb. 1 and Feb. 4 through Feb. 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.

Programs available

FSA can provide these administrative services because failure to perform these services would harm funded programs. FSA staff will work on the following transactions:

  • 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.

Programs not available

Transactions that will not be available include, but are not limited to:

  • 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. Programs managed by FSA that were re-authorized by the 2018 farm bill will be available at a later date yet to be determined.

Source: USDA, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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