MINNESOTA FSA OFFICES OPEN BY APPOINTMENT BY PHONE UNTIL NOTICE
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices are open in Minnesota by telephone appointment only until further notice, and FSA staff are available to continue assisting agricultural producers with the program registrations, loan service and other important actions. In addition, the FSA is making the lending process more flexible and adding flexibilities for servicing direct and guaranteed loans to provide credit to producers in need.
FSA service centers are open to businesses by telephone appointment only. While our program delivery staff continue to come to the office, they will work with our agricultural producers over the phone and use email and online tools where possible.
“FSA’s programs and loans are essential for farmers and ranchers in Minnesota, and we want to continue our work with customers while taking precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” said the executive director from FSA State, Joe Martin. “We recognize that farm loans are essential for annual family operating and living expenses, emergency needs, and cash flow at times like this. The FSA strives to find and use all options and flexibilities to provide producers with credit options and other program benefits. “
The FSA offers programs and services, including:
- Agricultural loans;
- Commodity loans;
- on-farm storage facility loan program;
- Disaster assistance programs, including enrollment in the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (this includes growers now eligible due to losses due to drought and excess moisture in 2018 and 2019);
- Safety net programs, including enrollment in 2020 for agricultural risk coverage and price loss coverage programs;
- conservation programs; and
- Area reports.
Easing of the process for granting agricultural loans
The FSA is making the loan granting process more flexible, including:
- Extend the deadline for applicants to complete farm loan applications;
- Prepare direct loan documents even if the FSA is unable to complete searches for liens and registrations due to the closure of government buildings. Once this research is completed, FSA would close the loan; and
- Closure of loans if the required lien position on the primary collateral is perfect, even for loans that require additional collateral and searches, deposits and lien registrations cannot be obtained due to the closure of government buildings.
Management of direct loans
The FSA is extending deadlines for producers to respond to loan management actions, including the counterpart of loan deferral for financially distressed and delinquent borrowers.
The FSA will temporarily suspend loan accelerations, non-judicial foreclosures and referral of foreclosures to the Department of Justice. The United States Attorney’s Office will decide whether to stop foreclosures and evictions on accounts under its jurisdiction.
Management of secured loans
Collateral lenders can self-certify, offering their borrowers:
- Advances of operating loans from subsequent years on lines of credit;
- Emergency advances on lines of credit.
FSA will review secured lender applications for:
- Consideration of temporary deferral of payment when borrowers do not have a workable plan reflecting that family living expenses, operating expenses and debt can be repaid; and
- Temporary forbearance consideration for borrowers in the event of loan liquidation and foreclosure.
Contact the FSA
The FSA will accept additional forms and requests by fax or electronic signature. Certain services are also available online for customers with an eAuth account, which provides access to the farms.gov portal where producers can view USDA agricultural loan information and payments and view and track certain applications and payments. of the USDA program. Customers can track payments, report completed practices, request retention assistance, and electronically sign documents. Customers who do not yet have an eAuth account can register at farms.gov/sign-in.
The FSA encourages producers to contact their county office to discuss these programs and the temporary changes to farm loan terms and available loan service options. For contact information for the service center, visit farmer.gov/coronavirus.