WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is temporarily reopening an agency that provides resources to farmers and ranchers.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Wednesday the department has called back 2,500 employees to reopen Farm Service Agency offices on Thursday, Friday and next Tuesday to process existing farm loans and provide tax documents. The office will not process any new applications for loans or trade aid payments.
Perdue says the USDA is examining its "legal authorities" to ensure it's providing services to its customers during the partial government shutdown, now the longest in U.S. history.
The USDA last week announced its feeding programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, will run through February. But if the shutdown extends into March funding will become uncertain.