EVANSVILLE, Ind., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Farm Service Agency offices will reopen Thursday to provide certain services the U.S. Department of Agriculture deems emergencies, as the government shutdown drags on.
The staff are working unpaid.
"The FSA provides vital support for farmers and ranchers and they count on those services being available," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement. "We want to offer as much assistance as possible until the partial government shutdown is resolved."
Perdue extended the deadline for farmers to apply for trade assistance, called the Market Facilitation Program. The deadline for that program was Jan. 15, but the shutdown meant the FSA stopped accepting applications when the offices closed Dec. 28. The new deadline is Feb. 14.
The FSA has offices in every state -- and many counties. The newly reopened offices will provide a select number of services, including processing loan and aid applications, crop insurance programs and distributing tax documents. Other services -- including its conservation, rehabilitation and water protection programs -- will remain dormant. For a complete list of services available visit the FSA's shutdown website.
The USDA plans to keep the FSA offices open for two weeks, until Feb. 8. If the shutdown continues after that, they plan to keep offices open three days a week -- Tuesday-Thursday.
Employees will receive back pay once the government shutdown ends.