Ask FSA Andy about text alerts

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Hello again friends,

With technology changing every day, it is hard to keep up with the latest smartphones and/or smart television. I still am not sure what a smart cell phone is and I don’t think I want one. My flip phone has never failed me — it takes a beating, it still works and it doesn’t boss me around like that Siri lady that everyone talks about.

But our FSA offices can use a new tool to notify you of any deadlines that are coming up. This will help you and your local FSA office get the needed information out to you while on-the-go, at home or on the tractor.

We all know the post cards that we send to you during planting and harvest time end up in your pile of mail that will have to wait until you are finished. Sometimes this means you missed the deadline. To get the information to you easier and more timely, you can now receive text message alerts from your local FSA. You will not receive any more than two texts a month from your local FSA office, and only your local FSA office will have the ability to text you.

It will be a very short text; for example “Deadline to report you wheat is December 15.”

How to sign up

Even if you don’t know how to text, it is pretty easy to sign up and receive the texts. You will need to text “oh” then the name of the county where your farm is located. For example, if you lived in Lake County, you would text “ohlake”. The number you will text to is 372669. If you have any problems setting it up, contact your local FSA office. Standard text messaging rates will apply.

Check out website

Another great tool USDA has set up is the website for beginning farmers, veterans, women and minority farmers and youth farmers: www.usda.gov/newfarmers. This website provides many tools to help you get started in the right direction. It takes you through steps of evaluating your operation, identifying resources, and making the connections needed to be successful.

There is also a link called “Farms in Transition” to provide basic information to operations going through changes.

The website is a very informative and interesting site, even to operations that have been in business for a long time. No password is needed for access or account to be set up to visit this site. If you get a chance, please take the time to look it over.

Even if you are a seasoned farmer, it can’t hurt to check out the website to see what all is available for you from the Farm Service Agency and other agencies in USDA.

That’s all for now,

FSA Andy

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