January 24, 2019

Farm Service Agency Offices Back Open Temporarily Amid Shutdown

Steve Burns/WFIU-WTIU News

Steve Burns/WFIU-WTIU News

Farm Service Agency offices have been closed since late December because of the government shutdown, but the US Department of Agriculture is recalling furloughed workers to keep those offices open starting Thursday.

President Trump promised aid to farmers who are being hurt by the ongoing trade dispute with China; the FSA processes those subsidy payments.

All FSA offices shut down Dec. 28 and those staff were furloughed without pay. A few offices re-opened for limited hours and services on Jan. 17.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says in a statement that all FSA offices will be open temporarily over the next few weeks.

From Jan. 24 to Feb. 8: open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

After Feb. 8: open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays "if needed to provide the additional administrative services."

The list of services now available is longer and includes the subsidy program for farmers impacted by tariffs.

Perdue says all FSA employees previously furloughed, about 9,700, have been recalled to work. They'll work without pay, but Perdue says all employees will receive all backpay missed during the shutdown.

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