With all USDA Service Centers closed to walk-in visitors, USDA wants farmers to know they can set up phone appointments with the local Farm Service Agency or Natural Resources Conservation Service staffs or work with those offices through email or USDA's websites.
FSA staff are continuing to work with producers for program signups, servicing loans or other issues, FSA stated. Along with that, FSA also is relaxing some of its loan processing rules and adding some flexibility to servicing direct and guaranteed loans, which includes extending some deadlines.
FSA and NRCS staff at local offices are available "by phone appointment only," but will be working with farmers and land owners not just by phone but also email and other online tools.
It should be noted as Congress completes its work on a stimulus package that farmers will want to watch out for more information in the coming weeks because enrollment for new programs may have to work through the phone or on-line.
FSA noted right now it is still servicing farm loans, commodity loans, storage loans, disaster programs for 2018 and 2019 under the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus, as well as ARC and PLC, conservation programs and acreage reports.
Despite operating by phone and on-line, NRCS also continues taking continuous sign up for programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Conservation Stewardship Program and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. Producers can call their local NRCS offices about sign up and the application process.
FSA and NRCS also have forms and documents available at www.farmers.gov which are accessible with an eAuth account. There's also information for enrollment to set up an eAuth account.
USDA has more details on ways the department is managing through the coronavirus at https://www.farmers.gov/…
NRCS can also be accessed at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/…
Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com
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