This afternoon, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the consolidation of 125 Farm Service Administration (FSA) offices across the country, consistent with the 2008 Farm Bill passed during the previous Congress. Six of the offices are located in the 1st Congressional District. Mississippi farmers and communities have been out in front of the issue since the beginning by attending field hearings and submitting comments to USDA. The Mississippi congressional delegation supported constituents by sending a joint letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack expressing the importance of taking caseload and farm program enrollment numbers into account. During the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture hearings, Congressman Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) repeatedly voiced concerns and disapproval for the process that USDA was using to make final determinations to both Secretary Vilsack and FSA Administrator Bruce Nelson.
"The reality is, we live in a time during which we are running $1 trillion in annual deficits and have $15 trillion in debt, government services have to be reduced, difficult decisions have to be made" Nunnelee said. "However, I am frustrated by the way USDA carried out this process and disappointed in their final decision. My office stands ready to assist Mississippi Farmers and FSA employees during this time of transition."