|WASHINGTON D.C. — National Farmers Union (NFU) is calling on USDA Secretary Johanns to provide an update on current and future Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office plans.
In October, USDA announced it was postponing plans to close nearly one-third of its FSA county offices, yet it appears the Department is moving forward in this effort without the input of those affected by such decisions.
“Closing FSA offices at a time when rural America is struggling to confront declining commodity prices, soaring energy costs and weather-related disasters is unacceptable,” NFU President Tom Buis said. “Local FSA office services are essential to America’s producers and will be crucial when the time comes to facilitate expected disaster relief.”
NFU is urging Secretary Johanns to put off consolidation or closing decisions until public hearings can be held in counties affected by FSA closures and USDA completes a comprehensive analysis on the impact closures or consolidations would have on communities and producers.
“FSA office accessibility is critical to implementing vital farm programs and producers across the countryside rely on the assistance their county FSA office provides,” Buis said.
“It is imperative that USDA consider the full impact consolidating or closing these offices would have on family farmers, ranchers and their communities,” he concluded.
The National Farmers Union can be found on the Internet at www.nfu.org
This farm news was published in the April 26, 2006 issue of Farm World.