Thursday, March 13, 2014
About 250 Farm Service Agency (FSA)
offices will be consolidated across the country, a move intended to
improve customer service, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
announced last week.
Vilsack said no decision has been made on which of the FSA
offices will be closed. The consolidation will occur next year, he
The consolidation plan, described as part of a "new vision" for
FSA offices, is included in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s
proposed FY2015 budget.
"We want that FSA to be a model service agency office," he
Vilsack said currently about 30 of the roughly 2,000 FSA offices
don't have any full-time employees. Others have one or two.
He noted that with new technology, farmers don't necessarily
have to go to multiple offices if they have land holdings in
different counties. That will create less paperwork and activity at
the offices, he said.
"Over time, we're going to hopefully get to a point where
farmers are going to be able to access their information, their
records, apply for programs without even coming into an office," he
"I think we have a responsibility to ask the question, 'As
things change, how do we change and modernize the Farm Service
Agency offices?'" he said. "I think we can do this in a way that
really provides greater service, better service for producers."
Consolidating offices, he said, will allow the FSA offices that
remain open to be adequately staffed.
He also wants FSA employees to start aggressively marketing
opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers. He noted that the
farm bill includes incentives for young farmers.
USDA's proposed FY2015 budget also maintains continued funding
of all trade promotion programs, he said.
Content provided by FarmWeek- Deana Stroisch
For More Info Contact:
here to learn more about FSA.
here to learn more about Vilsack.
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