USDA to reopen ‘certain’ FSA offices
Many Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced today.
USDA has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Thursday, Friday and 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, USDA said.
“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 December 31, 2018.
▪ Continuing expiring financing statements.
▪ 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.
USDA also posted a list of the offices to be open. (See link below.)
Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Hoeven, R-N.D., said he had spoken with Perdue last week about the importance of opening the offices. Hoeven said he is still “encouraging the administration to mitigate additional impacts, including providing additional service for Marketing Assistance Loans and Guaranteed loans.”
–The Hagstrom Report