FSA Offices Reopen; Market Facilitation Program Deadline Now Feb. 14
All Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices nationwide will reopen January 24 to provide additional administrative services to farmers and ranchers during the lapse in federal funding.
In announcing the reopening of FSA offices, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue also noted that the deadline to apply for the Market Facilitation Program, which aids farmers harmed by unjustified retaliatory tariffs, has been extended to February 14. Other program deadlines may be modified and will be announced as they are addressed.
Certain FSA offices have been providing limited services for existing loans and tax documents since January 17. Beginning January 24, FSA offices will open and offer a longer list of available transactions.
Under this new arrangement, FSA staff will work on the following transactions:
- 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
Transactions that will not be available include, but are not limited to:
- 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
The National Cotton Council quickly responded to the news.
“We are thankful that Secretary Perdue and Under Secretary Northey and their team recognized the difficulties farmers have faced these past weeks in doing such business as signing up for the Market Facilitation Program and utilizing a fully functioning marketing loan program,” NCC Chairman Ron Craft said. “Reopening these offices is vital, as cotton producers are marketing their 2018 crop and preparing for the 2019 growing season.”
In their statement, the NCC also thanked the House and Senate agriculture and appropriations committees’ leadership, including Cotton Belt Members, for urging USDA and the Administration to reopen FSA offices.
For the first two full weeks under this operating plan (January 28 through February 1 and February 4 through February 8), FSA offices will be open Mondays through Fridays from 8 am to 4:30 pm. In subsequent weeks, offices will be open three days a week – Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays – if needed to provide the additional administrative services.
Agricultural producers who have business with the agency can contact their FSA service center to make an appointment. Updates to available services and offices will be made during the lapse in federal funding on the FSA shutdown webpage.
Based on information provided by USDA and the National Cotton Council