Farm Service Agency offices scheduled to open temporarily

Limited services available today, Friday and Tuesday

The Maui News

The Farm Service Agency office in Kahului will reopen today, Friday and Tuesday to offer limited services for farmers and ranchers during the government shutdown.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that about 2,500 Farm Service Agency employees had been called to temporarily open offices nationwide.

Staff members at certain offices, including the Kahului location, will be available to help producers with specific services, including processing payments made on or before Dec. 31, continuing expiring financing statements and opening mail to identify priority items. Staff may also release proceeds from the sale of loan security by signing checks jointly payable to the Farm Service Agency that are brought to the county office by producers.

Most available services can also be handled over the phone. The Kahului Service Center is located at 77 Hookele St., Suite 201, and can be reached by calling 871-5500. The offices will be closed on Monday for the federal Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

Services not included during the three-day window are: new direct or facility loans, new farm loan guarantees, new marketing assistance loans, new applications for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), certification of 2018 production for MFP payments, the Dairy Margin Protection Program and disaster assistance programs.

The application deadline for the Market Facilitation Program passed on Jan. 15, but U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said he would extend the deadline for a period of time equal to the number of business days the Farm Service Agency offices end up being closed during the shutdown. The upcoming three-day window of limited services will not count as days open.

Producers who already applied for the program and certified their 2018 production by Dec. 28 should have already received their payments.

Farmers who have loan deadlines during the lapse in funding do not need to make payments until the government shutdown ends.

For more information, visit farmers.gov or visit the USDA Facebook and Twitter @USDA.

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