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U.S. Department of Agriculture launches AskUSDA

Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 11:17 AM CST
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ALTOON, Wis. (WEAU) - The deadlines continue to be many for farmers, and voting for Farm Service Agency county committees is nearing. Eligible farmers have until Dec. 7 to return to local FSA offices – or have postmarked – ballots that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has mailed to them. County committees have three to 11 members, and the committees provide input into federal agriculture programs. Farmers eligible to vote in the election must be participants or cooperators in an FSA program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched a new AskUSDA contact center in an attempt to streamline public contacts with the department. USDA officials said last week in a press release that people with questions concerning programs have had to navigate many telephone numbers and Web sites, but that the new system should streamline those contacts. The program’s telephone number is 833-One-USDA, which operates 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during weekdays. Information also is available at the ask.usda.gov Web site; that site also will have chat agents available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Questions also may be e-mailed to askusda@usda.gov.

Registration has opened for the USDA’s 97th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, which will be held virtually Feb. 18-19. There is no registration cost for the event. The forum’s theme is “Building on Innovation: A Pathway to Resilience.” Registration information is available on the USDA’s Web site.

Preliminary sales figures show the number of Wisconsin deer hunters were up this year compared with the 2019 and 2018 seasons. Initial figures that the number of licenses for gun, bow, crossbow, sports and patron licenses were 810,233, with 559,591 for gun-hunting privileges only – the overall license number a 3.2 percent increase compared with 2019. Women hunting made up the largest demographic increase, with about 90,000 women buying licenses – a 9 percent increase compared with last year. Final numbers will be available in January, DNR officials said. The state’s gun-dear season, which ran through the past week, ended yesterday.

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