In a major win for Louisiana farmers, Congressman Jeff Landry (R, LA-03) announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reversed its proposal to close the St. Mary Parish Farm Services Agency (FSA) facility.
"After months of phone calls, letters, meetings, and emails -- I am proud to say the St. Mary FSA will continue to serve Louisiana's hard-working farmers," said Landry. "Sometimes in Washington, common-sense and hard work prevails; I'm glad I was able to help advance the needs of our local producers. I commend Secretary Vilsack and his staff for making the right choice to take the St. Mary FSA off the closure list."
When the proposed closure was first made known -- Landry, a former cane field worker and small business owner, immediately cited the USDA's St. Mary proposal did not meet their stated criteria on cost savings or geographic locations for office closures. Landry corrected the USDA assertion that the Lafayette FSA and St. Mary FSA are 8 miles apart and met with FSA Administrator Bruce Nelson in his Washington office on February 29th. Landry had a constructive phone call with Vilsack on May 8th.
Local officials and farmers are thrilled with the news and thankful for Landry's relentless efforts. Hearing the outrage of the local community, Congressman Landry fought and held USDA accountable every step of the way. "Congressman Landry's pressure paid off," said St. Mary Parish President Paul Naquin. "The farmers and residents of St. Mary Parish are grateful for Congressman Landry's tenacity to keep the FSA open." And St. Mary Parish farmer Jessie Breaux added, "Shutting down the St. Mary facility would have cost our farmers valuable time and money. I thank Congressman Landry for fighting and winning for us."