CHAMBLISS CALLS TOP USDA OFFICIALS TO HEARING ON FSA CLOSINGS
WASHINGTON, D.C.-- U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said a
full Committee hearing proposed by Senator Jim Talent (R-MO) on USDA's
efforts to close more than 713 Farm Service Agency offices will be held
Thursday, October 20 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern.
Chambliss credited Senator Talent with gaining Senate support for farmers'
need of local FSA office advice with complex USDA regulations. Led by
Senator Talent, the Senate unanimously adopted an amendment to the fiscal
year 2006 agricultural appropriations bill for the Secretary of Agriculture
to conduct a thorough analysis of the impacts before any office closings.
"Senator Talent and I agree that service to producers and the agriculture
community should not diminish," said Chairman Chambliss. "Unfortunately,
USDA has yet to demonstrate that the FSA Tomorrow plan will yield better
service for producers. At Senator Talent's suggestion, we will have top USDA
officials in for an accounting."
"I want to thank Chairman Chambliss for his quick response," said Sen. Jim
Talent. "The USDA put the cart before the horse with their FSA Tomorrow
plan. We are very concerned about closing our FSA offices when there has
been little or no consultation with local offices or our farmers and
producer groups. The issue we need to address in the hearing is that service
and accessibility to the agriculture community should be our No. 1 priority
with the way we handle FSA offices."