Ag News

USDA Service Centers Adjust Operations Amid COVID-19

(IARN) — The way we have come to access goods and services has changed drastically over the past few weeks.

The U.S. Department of Agiruclture (USDA) has also been forced to adjust the way it serves United States farmers and ranchers. One USDA Undersecretary outlines those changes up next.

Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey issued the following statement earlier this week.

“U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Centers nationwide will continue to conduct business, but by phone only. Field work will continue with appropriate social distancing, as a precautionary measure to help prevent the spread of coronavirus,” Northey said.

Select employees will continue to report to USDA Service Centers. However, producers seeking assistance must call in to schedule a phone appointment.

“Program delivery staff will continue to come into the office. They will be working with producers by phone and online, whenever possible,” Northey said. “All service center visitors wishing to conduct business with USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call to schedule a phone appointment.”

Department of Agriculture officials continue to look at flexibiities to deliver programs on behalf of producers, as they have done under similar circumstances. Undersecretary Northey, however, assures producers continued deliverance of disaster assistance, safety net, farm loan and conservation programs “designed to keep American agriculture in business today and long into the future.”

“We have deadlines coming up. Keep your eyes open for those. We’re looking at crop insurance deadlines for the minor crops,” Northey said. “The spring planted crops: We had a sign up that was due a week or two ago. Those got done, as well as sign up for ARC/PLC. We are in the middle of ARC/PLC signup for 2020. That’s open until June, so (there’s) plenty of time for that.”

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

Photo of Bill Northey from KIWA Image Archive

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