The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will be re-opening. This is very welcome news for many producers that haven’t yet applied for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), or are trying to make preparations for the next growing season. It appears that FSA services will still be somewhat limited, and the window that offices will be open only lasts a few weeks. Read on to learn more about Perdue’s interview, when FSA offices will be open, the services available, and the new MFP deadline.
Yesterday, broadcaster Max Armstrong spoke with US Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue in an interview about the new USDA announcement.
Corn & Soybean Digest reported on Perdue’s news. Starting today, all FSA offices will be open and are offering a larger variety of services. About half of FSA offices were opened for a period of three days on January 17, 18 and 22 to aid farmers with various loans, government programs and assistance. FSA offices had been shuttered since December 28 due to a lapse in federal funding that resulted from the partial government shutdown.
Perdue worked with the Office of Management and Budgets in order 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.”
FSA Office Hours
All 9,700 FSA employees have been called back to work. They won’t be paid during the shutdown, but President Trump signed legislation that guarantees their back pay once the government is re-opened.
Carol Ryan Dumas of Capitol Press reports that FSA offices will now be open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm. After February 8th the offices will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. All producers wishing to utilize FSA services are urged to make an appointment.
FSA will be able to assist producers with the following:
• 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.
Some services 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.
New MFP Deadline
Beef Magazine reports that a new deadline for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) has been determined. Producers now have until February 14 to apply. The original deadline was January 15, but that has now been extended due to the shutdown. Deadlines for other programs may also be changed, but those announcements have yet to be made.
To check for updates on available services at FSA offices, visit the FSA shutdown webpage.