Farm Service Agency Moves to Electronic Check Processing

COLUMBIA, S.C. - USDA South Carolina Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, Laurie C. Lawson announced that FSA is moving towards an electronic method for processing check payments from customers.

Using the electronic method, when a producer submits a paper check payment, either in person or through the mail, the check will be converted into an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) using Over the Counter Channel (OTCnet), a web-based application.

According to SED Lawson, OTCnet will be implemented in a select number of counties throughout the state in late August, 2012, but all counties will be transitioned into OTCnet by the end of 2013.

"It is important for producers to have sufficient funds in their bank account because the electronic transfer of funds could occur within 24 hours," said SED Lawson.

FSA will hold the paper check for up to 14 calendar days to ensure that the transaction was successfully processed and then the check will be shredded. The producer will not receive the paper check back from FSA.

"The new electronic check processing system will benefit the Agency and producers," said SED Lawson. "The new system will reduce the possibility of losing or misplacing checks, speed up the check clearing process and reduce the potential for human error," he said.

For more information regarding electronic check processing and to determine if OTCnet is offered in your county, contact your local FSA office.