All USDA county Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices reopened today amid the partial government shutdown now in its fifth week.
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday that more than 9,700 FSA employees would return to work without pay starting Jan. 24. The offices will be open daily through Feb. 8. If the shutdown continues past that date, county FSA offices will be open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays as needed, according to a USDA press release.
FSA staff will be able to process applications for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and to certify 2018 production for the program. Applications for the tariff assistance program had been stalled as the shutdown took hold in late December. Farmers and ranchers now have until Feb. 14 to apply for the tariff aid payments. The deadline to certify 2018 production for MFP remains May 1.
Other services available at FSA offices during the government shutdown include:
- 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.
According to USDA, the following transactions will not be available at FSA offices during the government shutdown:
- 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.
FSA offices are scheduled to be open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.