WASHINGTON, D.C. — Many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily beginning Thursday, Jan. 17 to perform limited services for farmers and ranchers, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Wednesday.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Thursday, Jan. 17, Friday, Jan. 18, and Tuesday, Jan. 22, during normal business hours.
The offices will be closed on Monday, Jan. 21, for the federal Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
In almost half of FSA locations, 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.
North Dakota FSA offices that will open include: Bottineau, Carson, Cavalier, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Fargo, Grand Forks, Hillsboro, Jamestown, LaMoure, Langdon, Linton, Mandan, Minot, Mott, Park River, Selfridge, Towner and Williston.
In Minnesota, U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson said select offices will be open in Detroit Lakes, Bemidji, Moorhead, Thief River Falls, Roseau, Benson, Fergus Falls, Crookston, Mankato, Preston, Mora, Hallock, Marshall, Warren, Glencoe, Preston, Warren, Glencoe, Little Falls, Worthington, Rochester, Redwood Falls, Waite Park,
The services provided will include:
- Processing payments made on or before Dec. 31.
- Continuing expiring financing statements.
- Opening mail to identify priority terms.
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.
While staff are available in person during the three-day window, most available services can be handled on the phone. Producers can begin contacting staff on Thursday, Jan. 17. The number for the Clay County office is 218-233-7773 and the Fargo office is 701-282-2157.
Farmers who have loan deadlines during the lapse in funding do not need to make payments until the government shutdown ends.
Services that will not be available during this limited time include, but are not limited to, the following:
- 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.
The MFP application deadline has also been extended for a period of time, equal to the number of business days FSA offices end up being closed, once the government shutdown comes to an end. These announced days of limited staff availability during the shutdown will not constitute days open in calculating the extension of the deadline.
Producers who already applied for MFP and certified their 2018 production by Dec. 28, should have already received their payments.
More information on MFP is available at www.farmers.gov/manage/mfp.