Senator Clinton Welcomes News that USDA Will Keep Open Local Agriculture Outreach Offices
Clinton Efforts Help Stop Closures of Farm Service Agency Offices in Broome, Herkimer, Oswego, Rensselaer and Suffolk Counties
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today welcomed the news that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has heeded her call to keep open local Farm Service Agency (FSA) field offices in New York State, withdrawing plans to close offices in Broome, Herkimer, Oswego, Rensselaer and Suffolk Counties. Senator Clinton vowed to continue to fight USDA plans to consolidate offices in New York and across the country, including a proposal announced today to combine Albany County and Schoharie County, Sullivan County and Orange County and Yates County and Steuben County FSA offices. Senator Clinton has repeatedly called on the USDA to stop planned office consolidations and closures, underscoring that accessible local field offices are a critically needed resource for New York's farmers and rural communities.
"This is a real victory for farmers and producers in Broome, Herkimer, Oswego, Rensselaer and Suffolk Counties. I have been a vocal advocate for keeping these offices open and I am proud the USDA has recognized the need to maintain convenient locations where farmers can access resources vital for their livelihoods," said Senator Clinton. "I am dismayed that the USDA continues their plans to consolidate the remaining three FSA offices and various conservation and rural development offices. I will continue to press the USDA to withdraw any proposals to consolidate and close local field offices in New York and across the country and to instead focus on improving quality and efficiency of their services for our farmers and rural communities."
"NYFB members appreciate the Senator's leadership in conveying the importance of scaling back the original, drastic decreases in FSA office services. It's important to maintain a local FSA office presence at a time when FSA is playing a larger role in providing technical and paperwork assistance to farmers with environmental conservation improvement programs, disaster assistance, and other farm ownership and lending assistance programs, and we look forward to working with the Senator and other delegation members to ensure that services are provided to farmers throughout the state," said Julie Suarez, Director of Public Policy for New York Farm Bureau.
Senator Clinton has called repeatedly on the USDA to reverse the agency's plan to consolidate and close local field offices in New York State and throughout the country, emphasizing feedback from New York farmers and rural communities following a series of public hearings held by the USDA. Senator Clinton has urged the USDA to focus on improving the quality and efficiency of field offices rather than consolidating or eliminating them. Senator Clinton also introduced legislation in the Senate to prohibit the closure or relocation of any current county field office of the USDA until at least one year after the enactment of the coming Farm Bill. This language was accepted into the House version of the 2007 Farm Bill and Senator Clinton is pushing for its inclusion in the upcoming Senate version of this reauthorization.