TIFTON, Ga.(Jan. 22, 2019) The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that all Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen to provide additional administrative services to farmers and ranchers during the lapse in federal funding.
“At President Trump’s direction, we have been working to alleviate the effects of the lapse in federal funding as best we can, and we are happy to announce the reopening of FSA offices for certain services,” Perdue says. “The FSA provides vital support for farmers and ranchers and they count on those services being available. We want to offer as much assistance as possible until the partial government shutdown is resolved.”
This announcement will allow the peanut marketing loan program to function as designed and the supply chain to work more effectively for the peanut industry. “We’re very pleased USDA was able to help our industry in a timely manner and open up FSA offices in Georgia and across the nation,” says Armond Morris, a Georgia peanut farmer and chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission. “We had a real problem on our hands that would have certainly damaged our industry and negatively affected all segments. We certainly appreciate the U.S. Department of Agriculture for taking our concerns into consideration, and responding with a helpful solution”.
Starting on Thursday, Jan. 24, Farm Service Agency offices will put employees back to work full-time for two weeks. After two weeks, assuming the department is still without funding, they will be open three days a week until the shutdown concludes.
“We are highly appreciative of USDA’s collaborative approach, working proactively to support the entire U.S. peanut industry, and peanut growers,” says Karl Zimmer, president and CEO of Premium Peanut. “Without this action, the potential to cause significant, detrimental and long-term impact to the entire peanut industry existed, creating additional hardship for American peanut growers still working to recover from Hurricane Michael. Now, with ongoing support from USDA, we can continue to operate, supporting a thriving domestic business in addition to creating value for U.S. agriculture through our significant exports of peanuts and peanut products to countries around the world.”