FSA call center can quickly set you on the right path | TheFencePost.com

FSA call center can quickly set you on the right path

Farmers and ranchers can now contact a call center to receive one-on-one assistance from USDA Farm Service Agency employees ready to help. By calling (877) 508-8364, customers can ask questions about FSA programs — including to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program — and get a jump start on program applications.

The call center was created in response to CFAP as a way to better serve customers, especially those who have not worked with FSA previously.

Mike Mandere, chief administrative officer for FSA in Washington state and team leader for the Northwest Area virtual FSA team, said customers who contact the call center can expect to receive the same great service they would receive as if they were in their FSA county office.

“The service you receive is very similar to contact with the county office,” Mike said. “We want to ensure they get the information needed to answer questions and get the CFAP application process started.”

The call center has received over 16,000 calls since its inception in May 2020. Angie Hebbelman, a program technician in Montana, is one of over 100 call center staff and volunteers. Angie enjoys working on the call center because she likes helping producers complete their applications, providing them with information and helping with any concerns or questions they might have.

“The benefit a producer has in calling us is we can easily access information for them,” Hebbelman said. “We are here for them, we have the time for them, and we understand.”

Staff can also provide service to non-English speaking customers. Customers using the call center will still call (877) 508-8364 and select 1 for English and 2 to speak with a Spanish-speaking employee. For other languages, customers select 1 and indicate their language to the call center staff.

FSA has expanded the call center concept beyond CFAP and customers who call can receive assistance on a variety of FSA programs, including FSA’s Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus, which provides disaster payments to producers to offset losses from hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters that occurred in the 2018 and 2019 calendar years.

The call center is just one of many ways USDA has adjusted and added flexibilities to meet the needs of our customers during the coronavirus pandemic. One thing remains the same, USDA stands committed to offering exceptional customer service to our nation’s farmers and ranchers even during the most challenging times. Learn more at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

-Rogge is a public affairs specialist with the Farm Production and Conservation Business Center. She can be reached at dana.rogge@usda.gov.