DeSoto County, Mississippi is set to lose its Farm Service Agency office, due to budget cuts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The closure is part of USDA cost cutting measures that took place earlier this year. In an attempt to cut about $150 million from the department’s $145 billion budget, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the elimination of dozens of FSA offices across the country. While Vilsack promised that these offices were redundant and could be merged with neighboring offices, DeSoto County farmers claim that the closure will adversely affect their operations.
According to the supervisor at DeSoto County’s FSA office, “We’re disappointed with the decision, which was made in Washington after we filed a formal request that USDA not do this. We submitted the facts supporting keeping our office, and they still decided otherwise. This closing will inconvenience the many agricultural producers we have in this county.”
DeSoto County’s congressional representative Alan Nunnelee, while acknowledging the need for deficit reduction, criticized the way the USDA handled the closure and criticized their final decision to close the office.
Vilsack maintains that the merging of DeSoto County’s office with neighboring Hernando County will maintain vital farm services while cutting unnecessary costs.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer