Posted April 3, 2014
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack reassured lawmakers that he does not anticipate any closures of Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices this year, according to an article by AgWeek available here. Midwest Producer also reported on the story here.
Secretary Vilsack recently outlined his 2015 budget for the Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee. In response to a question from Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), Vilsack said that while the FSA budget “has been hit pretty hard” in the past several years, he does not anticipate any closures in 2014, while the agency undergoes a work-study analysis.
“Roughly 30 offices have no full-time employees today,” Vilsack said. “There are 111 that have one employee and within 20 miles of another office. So I think it is time to take a look at how we restructure.”
Vilsack said he would like to modernize the system and see the FSA offices “provide additional information above and beyond what they traditionally do.”
Vilsack also said that farmers should be able to apply for disaster assistance based on the restored programs by April 15.
The timetable for implementing Agriculture Revenue Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) is less certain, however. Vilsack said that farmers should be able to “update their productivity and production records sometime in late summer,” then in early fall, they should get a sense of where we are in terms of the regulations.
“[W]e hope by the end of this year they will be in a position to make elections and be able to be informed about them,” said Vilsack.
For more information on disaster assistance and crop insurance, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.