How to Visit the Farm Service Agency Office for the First Time as a Farmer

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is a branch of the USDA that provides farm loans, crop insurance, and disaster assistance. The FSA typically has an office each in each county or an office that serves multiple neighboring counties.

Most opportunities for federal farm programs (including loan programs and disaster assistance) are accessible only at the county level. Working with your local FSA office can play a critical role in your farm operation.


  1. Image titled IMG_My_Farm_RAFI.png
    Before contacting the FSA for the first time, be sure you understand where your farm is on an aerial county map and locate your FSA office for your county. The FSA agents must know where your farm is located so that they can:
    • record your location and assign you a farm number;
    • determine which FSA County Committee district you are located in;
    • determine which conservation programs you may be eligible for;
    • and look up historical crop records for your farm.
  2. Image titled IMG_CallFSA_RAFI.png
    Call ahead of when you plan to go to the FSA office and make an appointment with an FSA agent. They may ask you a few questions, so it's a good idea to be prepared to describe both yourself and your farm.
    • Typically, the folks in the office include the county director, a farm loan officer, and program technicians. Your primary interaction will more than likely be with a program technician. This person can walk you through FSA's programs for farmers and assist you with paperwork, should you choose to apply for a program or loan.
  3. 3
    Have your address, Social Security Number, and Employee Identification Number (EIN) with you or memorized. This will allow the FSA agent to add you to their database, which makes you eligible for federal farm programs. (No farm number = no eligibility.)
    • If you have recently purchased land, you may also want to bring the deed along with you in case they will need to update their records regarding the farm.
  4. 4
    Find your county's FSA office. Most FSA offices are located in the same building as other USDA or agricultural entities including Cooperative Extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and others.
  5. 5
    Meet with an FSA agent and describe yourself and your farm, as well as your future plans. It's important to make sure the agent has a clear understanding of your farm business so that they can suggest programs that may be relevant to you. Be prepared to answer the following questions:
    • Are you a veteran, beginning, or socially disadvantaged farmer?
    • What is your professional and educational experience? How many years have you been farming?
    • What is the size of your farm? How many acres do you have in production? How many acres do you own? How many acres do you lease?
    • Which crops and/or livestock do you raise?
    • Are you or do you plan to get organic certification?
    • How are you financing your farm? (Farm income, credit cards, private loans, savings, etc.)
  6. Image titled RAFI_FarmNumber_WikiHow.png
    Request a farm number if you don't already have one. A farm number does not cost you any money and it can help you with accessing credit and assistance through federal farm programs.
    • It also makes you eligible to run for an FSA County Committee. The County Committee can determine whether farmers in the county are eligible to apply for various federal farm programs.
    • Having a farm number opts your farm into the USDA Census of Agriculture. You'll get a survey in the mail every five years. The information collected by the Census is extremely important for agricultural agencies and organizations when it comes to just about every funding decision that is made on the federal level. Participate and be counted!
  7. 7
    After you’ve met with the FSA agent, be sure to take his or her business card and keep it with your records. On your way out, look for any brochures, flyers, and other materials that may interest you.
  8. 8
    Be sure you leave the FSA office with the following:
    • A farm number
    • A form determining where areas of conservation are on your farm (form AD-1026)
    • A receipt for service documenting that you were served by the FSA during this visit.


  • Visit the FSA branch locator. Click on your state and then click "County Offices" in the left sidebar. Click on your county for the location and contact info for your FSA county office.

Article Info

Categories: Farming