USDA to reopen FSA offices for limited services

WASHINGTON D.C. — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Wednesday that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Thursday and Friday in addition to Tuesday during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday.

In almost half of FSA locations, FSA staff will be available to assist agricultural producers with existing farm loans and to ensure the agency provides 1099 tax documents to borrowers by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline.

“Until Congress sends President Trump an appropriations bill in the form that he will sign, we are doing our best to minimize the impact of the partial federal funding lapse on America’s agricultural producers,” Perdue said. “We are bringing back part of our FSA team to help producers with existing farm loans. Meanwhile, we continue to examine our legal authorities to ensure we are providing services to our customers to the greatest extent possible during the shutdown.”

Staff members will be available at certain FSA offices to help producers with specific services, including:

• Processing payments made on or before Dec. 31, 2018;

• Continuing expiring financing statements; and

• Opening mail to identify priority items.

Additionally, as an intermittent incidental duty, staff may release proceeds from the sale of loan security by signing checks jointly payable to FSA that are brought to the county office by producers.

Information on the locations of FSA offices to be open during this three-day window will be posted:

• On the USDA website;

• On Twitter at @SecretarySonny and @USDA; and

• On USDA’s Facebook.

While staff are available in person during this three-day window, most available services can be handled over the phone.

Additionally, farmers who have loan deadlines during the lapse in funding do not need to make payments until the government shutdown ends.

Reopened FSA offices will only be able to provide the specifically identified services while open during this limited time.

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