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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched of two new features on farmers.gov to provide assistance with the H-2A application process and managing farm loans.

“These new features will help our customers as they manage their farm loans and navigate the H-2A temporary agricultural visa program,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a news release April 3. “As we adopt new technology, we are introducing simple yet innovative approaches to support our farmers, ranchers, producers, and foresters as they support the nation every day.”

Introduced in 2018, farmers.gov is a mobile-friendly public website combined with an authenticated portal where customers will be able to apply for programs, process transactions and manage accounts.

The H-2A features will be launched in two phases. Focused on education and smaller owner-operators, H-2A Phase I includes an H-2A visa program page and interactive checklist tool, with application requirements, fees, forms and a timeline built around a farmer’s hiring needs.

According to the news release, over the next several months, USDA will collaborate further with the U.S. Department of Labor to implement H-2A Phase II: a streamlined H-2A visa program application form, regulations and digital application process that moves users seamlessly from the farmers.gov website to the USDOL’s systems.

For an introductory video on the new H-2A features, go to https://youtu.be/E-TXREaZhnI

For managing their farm loans online, agricultural producers can now use a desktop computer, tablet or mobile phone to access loan information, view interest and payment history and set up account alerts.

For details about signing up for access, go to farmers.gov/sign-in. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge are the recommended browsers to access the feature.

Future self-service features available through the farmers.gov portal will help producers find the right loan programs for their business and submit loan documents to their service center.

—by Jonelle Mejica