Local Farm Service Agency temporarily back open

GRAVES COUNTY, KY — The U.S. Department of Agriculture reopened more than 900 Farm Service Agency offices Thursday.

It’s the first time they’ve been opened in the past 25 days.

Mayfield FSA staff members say they’re only allowed to process payments made by farm loan customers and release proceeds for joint checks.

They say a lot of people are going to the office for applications for the market facilitation program.

Leonard Gibson said he couldn’t imagine living anywhere better than his 1,100 acres.

“I’ve been in farming for over 60 years,” Gibson said. “I don’t think I could survive in the city.”

He raised his children — and now grandchildren — on his corn, soybean and wheat farm.

“I prefer to be out here,” Gibson said. “Occasionally, you’ll see a car go by.”

After years of farming, Gibson has retired.

“I lease my land out to some guys in the neighborhood that do the farming,” Gibson said. “They utilize this time for working on the machinery and getting everything up to date and ready to start planting in the spring.” 

Thursday morning, he headed to his local FSA office to get information confirmed.

“I was just checking to see if all of my information on my market facilitation was taken care of,” Gibson said. “Also, we received a card about the last day to certify your production. I understand each of these deadlines is going to extend by the number of days of the shutdown.”

Gibson said right now everything is a waiting game, from the government shutdown to planting his crops for the season.

FSA offices will not be taking applications for market facilitation.

They will only be open Friday and Tuesday.

For more on this story and others, follow Pauline Fitzgerald on Facebook or Twitter.