The U.S. Department of Agriculture will reopen about 980 Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices for three days starting on Thursday to help process farm loans and tax documents during the partial federal government shutdown.
About 2,500 FSA employees who have been furloughed by the partial shutdown that began on Dec. 22 have been called back to work without pay, the department said in a statement on Wednesday. It said the offices would be open Thursday, Friday, and Tuesday before closing again.
“Until Congress sends President Trump an appropriations bill in the form that he will sign, we are doing our best to minimize the impact of the partial federal funding lapse on America’s agricultural producers,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement. “We are bringing back part of our FSA team to help producers with existing farm loans.”
Perdue said 983 of the agency’s 2,124 offices would be open. At least one office will be open in each state, as well as in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The shutdown, now in its 26th day, has rippled across the already struggling U.S. farm economy. The USDA canceled the release of a slew of key reports last week.
Read more in Reuters.