The United Stated Department of Agriculture has reopened its Farm Service Agency offices across the country, including Shawnee for today, January 18 and January 22 and have recalled 2,500 FSA employees to perform limited services for farmers and ranchers.

Employees will be available to help customers with existing farm loans and to make sure people receive their 1099 tax documents on time with the Internal Revenue Service deadline.

Other limited services include processing payments made on or before Dec. 31, continuing expiring financing statements and opening mail to determine priority items.

Additionally, as an intermittent incidental duty, staff may release proceeds from the sale of loan security by signing checks jointly payable to FSA that are brought to the county office by producers.

Employees can help customers in person but most of the limited services offered can be taken care of by phone. Those farmers who have loan deadlines during the lack of funding don't have to make payments until the shutdown ends.

Services not offered during the three day window include new direct or facility loans, new farm loan guarantees, new marketing assistance loans, new applications for Market Facilitation Program (MFP), certification of 2018 production for MFP payments and dairy margin protection program. As well as disaster assistance programs, such as Livestock Indemnity Program, Emergency Conservation Program, Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program, Livestock Forage Disaster Program and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish.

January 15 was the original deadline for producers to apply for MFP but with the shutdown the deadline has been extended for an equal amount of time the government has been shutdown.

More information on MFP is available at www.farmers.gov/manage/mfp.