The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has had a staffing shortage long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but is now dealing with virtual office spaces and generational changes when looking for new employees.
Eugene Schriefer, the new State Executive Director (SED) for FSA, says their offices are only at 25% capacity, and most of their work is done virtually. He says agents are even meeting with farmers in parking lots to help them with forms and applications.
He says that despite working virtually, FSA still has one of the largest loan programs in the country, including programs to help young or beginning farmers get started.
Information about loans or programming available through FSA can be found on their website at https://www.fsa.usda.gov/. They can also be reached on a state and local level by phone or through mail. To find an FSA office near you, visit https://www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/index.