Indiana Farm Service Agency Executive Director Steve Brown says it’s been “a different” 3-4 weeks for his agency going through the partial government shutdown. He said everyone at FSA is just happy to be back at work.
“It appears all employees are going to get paid this week at some point in time so that’s a great thing for our people. We can get back to doing what we do. I was so proud of our employees because they came back and worked to serve our customers and their customers in their counties knowing they weren’t getting paid at that time, and there were some tough times for employees, but like I said they came back to do what they like to do.”
Brown expressed his appreciation for producers as well for their patience, kind thoughts, and even food. He said boxes of donuts just showed up at offices throughout the state without them knowing where they came from.
Obviously, though, the situation is not yet settled as a Feb. 15th deadline is fast approaching for Democrats and Republicans to come to an agreement on border security.
When asked if there are plans to remain open should the government shut down again, Brown said, “We haven’t even discussed that, and I haven’t been privy to any decisions on that. I just told our employees that we know right now we’re open business as usual and we’re going to operate that way and will continue until something happens and somebody will tell us.”
Brown said that there are many producers who have yet to come in and sign up for the Market Facilitation Program. Some because of wanting to wait until after Jan. 1 for tax reasons and others because they hadn’t yet finished harvest. Brown says producers need to get in ahead of the extended deadline of Feb. 14.
“Producers need to come in and fill out their 910, get that signed, and then they have until May 1 to bring their production evidence in. So, that’s our goal right now…make sure everybody signs the 910 and is able to be eligible to turn their production in and eventually get a payment.”
Brown spoke briefly on Tuesday at the First Farmers Bank and Trust Ag Summit at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette.