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New USDA Website Could Save Farmers a Trip to Town
Tired of traveling to town to submit government forms? The new Farmers.gov website might just save you a trip to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.
Farmers.gov is a new interactive website recently launched for producers across the country, and it will be crucial in saving farmers time and money. The newly built website is still in the works and will be updated to provide farmers and ranchers with the services they need, such as digital forms or the ability to engage with USDA staff.
Managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farmers.gov gathers together three agencies compromising the USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation mission area: The Farm Service Agency, The Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency.
“We’re really putting a marker in place right now,” says Kaveh Sadeghzadeh, public affairs director for the USDA-NRCS. “As we talk with farmers and ranchers, we’ll be adding more features to the site as we learn their specific needs and wants from USDA programs.”
Paperwork Made Simpler
“Many farmers are out in their fields using equipment that is connected to satellite and GPS technology, yet when they need to interact with USDA they have to stop, fill out a paper form, and fax or carry it to their local office. That is a real digital divide,” says U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perude.
New functions being added include an interactive calendar, farming success stories, an online appointment feature, digital forms, and a business data dashboard. Additionally, when the 2018 farm bill is signed into law, there will be plain-language program descriptions and a tool to determine eligibility.
“Producers are working hard to make their farms profitable, so these tools will help get the paperwork done without taking a big chunk out of the day to fill out forms,” says Perdue.
Sadeghzadeh says the website will add new programs and functions every month, and the agency will continue to build the website based on what farmers would like to access.
Farmers.gov brings a digital experience to the farm that is much different than other USDA websites that can be difficult for producers to operate.
“The one-stop site is built for farmers, by farmers,” says Sadeghzadeh. “It’s directly for the farmers and ensures the USDA is presenting services and efficiencies in helping them care for and grow their farms by having access to what they need.”
With the online format, farmers will soon be able to check on the status of payments, manage conservation programs implemented on their farms, as well as learn what they can do to improve soil health and develop cleaner water. As a mobile-friendly site, Farmers.gov can be accessed straight from the field.