USDA to reopen some offices for three days to help farmers during shutdown

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Some Farm Service Agency offices are set to reopen on a limited basis to aid farmers and ranchers, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a news release announcing that the USDA was recalling about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices for three days —Thursday, Friday and Tuesday.

Carolyn Kaster, AP

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington on April 25 following a farmers’ roundtable with President Donald Trump inside.

“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 in the release. “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.”

According to the release, the FSA staff will be on hand to assist with existing farm loans and to ensure the agency provides 1099 tax documents to borrowers by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline.

The statement goes on to say:

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.

Mississippi farmers are also feeling the effects of tariffs and the U.S. trade standoff with China.

Mississippi farmers brace for tariffs’ impact: ‘We are the ones being hit the hardest’