Day 33 of the government shutdown, and now farmers across Acadiana will soon get some relief. All farm service agency offices will re-open tomorrow. For farmers like Allen McLain, Jr. in Abbeville, they will once again be able to apply for insurance, grants and loans.
“There’s a lot of loans that get processed through the FSA offices,” McLain said. “Without those loans, farmers would not be able to get the funding they need to survive through the year.”
With offices re-opening, farmers will now be able to send in data to keep their benefits.
“I think it’s 40 to 50 percent (of the) farmers in Louisiana rely on the FSA office for these operating loans,” McLain said. “It allows them to continue on a time frame which allows them to grow their best crop that is possible. ”
With no end in sight to the shutdown, having access to those services will ease the worries for farmers like McLain.
More than 9,700 FSA employees have been temporarily recalled to keep offices open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays beginning January 24.
According to the USDA, 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.
If the shutdown lasts beyond that date, offices will be open three days a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, if needed, to provide the additional administrative services.
All FSA offices will offer a longer list of transactions including:
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.
Agricultural producers who have business with the agency can contact their FSA Service Center to make an appointment.