Today, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its decision on Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office consolidations proposed in January. FSA will consolidate 125 of the 131 offices originally proposed for consolidation with other USDA service centers, consistent with provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill.
USDA followed statutory requirements provided by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill for FSA office consolidations. Two sets of criteria were used to identify FSA offices for consolidation: (1) FSA offices located less than 20 miles from another FSA office that had two or fewer permanent, full-time employees, and (2) all FSA offices with zero permanent employees, regardless of location.
Public meetings were held within 30 days of the original announcement in every county affected by the proposal. Comments gathered during this period were reviewed by the department prior to formally notifying Congress of the proposal on Feb. 27. During the following 90-day congressional notification period, the department reviewed data used to create the proposal and public comments received. During this review, USDA determined that 6 of the original 131 proposed offices did not meet the 2008 Farm Bill criteria for consolidation. As a result, they are not included in the final plan announced today.
FSA will provide farmers and ranchers affected by consolidations an opportunity to choose the most convenient neighboring county office to conduct their future business. In addition, all employees in a closing office will be provided an opportunity to continue their work with FSA.
The six proposed county offices that will continue operating are: Lafayette County, Ark.; Boulder County, Colo.; St. Mary Parish, La.; Pamlico County, N.C.; Mayes County, Okla.; and York County, S.C.
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