In an interesting turn of events, some federal agencies are being brought back to work. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that many Farm Service Agency offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers.
USDA has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Thursday, Jan. 17, and Friday, Jan. 18, in addition to Tuesday, Jan. 22, during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, Jan.21.
In almost half of FSA locations, FSA staff will be available to assist agricultural producers with existing farm loans and to ensure the agency provides 1099 tax documents to borrowers by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline.
“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,” Perdue said. “We are bringing back part of our FSA team to help producers with existing farm loans. Meanwhile, we continue to examine our legal authorities to ensure we are providing services to our customers to the greatest extent possible during the shutdown.”
FSA is not the only agency getting called back to work. According to the Chicago Tribune, “The IRS is recalling about 46,000 of its employees furloughed by the government shutdown — nearly 60 percent of its workforce — to handle tax returns and pay out refunds. The employees won’t be paid during the shutdown.”
The Trump administration has promised no disruptions or delays for tax returns during the government shutdown.