Shutdown closes USDA, FSA

BROWN COUNTY – Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices at 1229 Cedar St. N.E. in Sleepy Eye and others like them across the country are closed due to the lapse in federal government funding.

In addition, the USDA website that includes information about federal farm and conservation programs and possible grants for them, is not available.

Coalition for Clean Minnesota River (CCMR) Executive Director Scott Sparlin of New Ulm said the FSA/NRCS shutdown creates a log jam.

“It’ll slow things down for sure,” Sparlin said. “This is where a lot of farm conservation, project incentive and technical assistance money starts. There was always some type of program sign-up going on.”

Brown County Family Services Director Tom Henderson said he learned Friday afternoon at a state director’s meeting, that Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) SNAP (formerly called Food Stamps) and MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Program – the state’s welfare reform program for low-income families with children) – “cash” programs have enough money to continue through October, if the shutdown continues that long.

“After that, they said stay tuned,” Henderson said.

Brown County Administrator Chuck Enter said as of now, the federal shutdown has no direct effects on county services. “But, we’ll monitor it as we go,” he added.

For information about available government services. visit To view USDA contingency plans for a wide range of federal agencies, visit

As of Friday, the contingency plans website includes links to the Agricultural Marketing Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, FSA; Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services; Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Association; NRCS, Rural Development, Department of Commerce, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of State, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, IRS, Department of Veterans Affairs, EPA, EEOC, Farm Credit Administration, Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation, FCC, FDIC, FTC, National Archives, National Council on Disability, NLRB, Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, SEC, Social Security Administration, USPS, among others.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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