Six Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices in Alabama will temporarily reopen to perform limited services for farmers, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today.
Service centers in Monroeville, Moulton, New Brockton, Rainsville, Tuscaloosa and Wetumpka will open Jan. 17, 18 and 22 during normal business hours. Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to work those days.
In Alabama, staff members can help farmers by
- Assisting with existing farm loans
- Ensuring the agency provides 1099 tax documents to borrowers by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline
- Processing payments made on or before Dec. 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 brought to the county office by producers.
While staff are available in person during this three-day window, most available services can be handled over the phone. Producers can begin contacting staff Jan. 17 here.
“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.”
Farmers who have loan deadlines during the lapse in funding do not need to make payments until the government shutdown ends.
Services not available include, but are not limited to,
- New direct or facility loans
- New farm loan guarantees
- New marketing assistance loans
- New applications for Market Facilitation Program (MFP)
- Certification of 2018 production for MFP payments
- Dairy Margin Protection Program
- Disaster assistance programs, such as
- Livestock Indemnity Program
- Emergency Conservation Program
- Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program
- Livestock Forage Disaster Program
- Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish