FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sandy Courtnage
September 14, 2007
MFU Opposes Proposed County FSA Office Closures
GREAT FALLS, MT (Sept. 13, 2007) – The Montana Farmers Union released the following statement in reaction to the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) notice that it intends to close six county offices as soon.
“Montana Farmers Union believes that there should be no closures while a new Farm Bill is being debated.
“Decreasing federal funding and the changing agricultural industry were cited as reasons for the proposed closures. The FSA provides a valuable service to producers, but it should not lose sight of the people it serves. Many producers already must travel long distances to an FSA office. That situation could be made worse by the six proposed closures. In addition, while the move to do more business over the internet is to be applauded, it must be remembered that there remain many producers without internet access or who do not have access to high speed service.
“In addition, Montana Farmers Union appreciates the support of Senators Baucus and Tester who joined Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and others, in offering legislation that would stop Farm Service Agency county office closures for one year from the date of the bill’s enactment. The House-passed farm bill includes a similar provision to prevent the closure or relocation of any FSA office by a period of one full year following the enactment of the overall bill. We support this more reasoned approach.