When working with a USDA agency be sure to request a receipt for service

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The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred the development of new services, which means some farmers and producers may be interacting with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies for the first time.

Offices, such as the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Rural Development, have many programs that can be helpful to farmers, including cost-share conservation programs, beginning farmer loans and applications for funding through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which set up to assist farmers and producers who have experienced a price decrease, or were unable to market their crops or livestock due to COVID-19.

Regardless of whether they are interacting with these offices for the first time, or if they’ve worked with them before, a best practice for all farmers and producers is to request a receipt for service. 

A receipt for service is a form given to a producer by an agency after applying for a program or loan, and it shows whether the request was approved or denied and the reason why. These receipts are a good way to document interactions with government offices and efforts by farmers and producers to apply for programs or loans. A receipt for service is always valuable, no matter the outcome of the meeting.

While some representatives may not be in the habit of providing receipts for service, the 2008 farm bill mandated they be provided, upon request, for all interactions with USDA agencies. Receipts can be requested for in person, phone and email interactions. 

Anyone who experiences problems obtaining a receipt for service can contact the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement at 800.880.4183 or partnerships@usda.gov.