FSA office to be open Thursday for services

The local Farm Service Agency office is to reopen Thursday to provide additional administrative services to farmers during the lapse in federal funding, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Included in the increased services is signup for the Market Facilitation Program, which aids farmers harmed by tariffs. The new MFP deadline is Feb. 14, the release said. Other program deadlines may be modified and are to be announced as they are addressed.

USDA has temporarily recalled all of the more than 9,700 FSA employees, the release said, to keep offices open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays. The release said President Donald Trump already has signed legislation that guarantees employees will receive backpay missed during the lapse in funding.

For the first two full weeks under the operating plan – Jan. 28 through Feb. 1 and Feb. 4-8 – FSA offices are to be open Monday through Friday, the release said. In subsequent weeks, offices are to be open three days a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays if needed to provide the additional administrative services.

Producers should call (419) 447-7071 to make an appointment for Market Facilitation Program, Marketing Assistance Loans, release of collateral warehouse receipts, direct and guaranteed farm operating loans, emergency loans, service to existing Conservation Reserve Program contracts, 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 and Tree Assistance Program.

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

For updates to services and offices, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/help/shutdowninfo.