2012-02-02 / Letters

Closing FSA Office Will Burden Family Farms

To the Editor

On January 30, 2012, I attended a public meeting to take public comment on a proposed office consolidation plan of the Farm Service Agency offices in Pennsylvania that calls for closing seven offices, including the Fulton County office.

My first concern with this closing is that being in the Cheasapeake Bay watershed, farmers are facing more regulations with the EPA every year. We now face restrictive erosion and sediment plans and manure management plans that we need to be in compliance with.

The Farm Service Agency offices assist us in meeting these types of regulations. My second concern is this. During the meeting when pressed about how much money the federal government would save by closing these offices, according to Bill Wehry of the USDA, closing all seven offices in PA would save $50,000 to $60,000 a year. The closing of the Fulton County office would save $11,000 a year.

I find this to be apalling. These closures do nothing to save money yet put an undo burden on family farms and other small operators. I feel these types of moves solely benifit large agribusiness that can employee people to work solely on remaining in compliance and can absorb extra cost that small farms cannot. To provide some background. My wife and I have raised mostly organic beef for the last 12 years. We provide healthy food for eight to 10 families a year. We are trying our best to stay in compliance but cannot absorb a lot of expense on our farm. We do need all of the local help we can get. I cannot begin to imagine what full-time farmers are going through. If I quit farming it will not hurt me, for others who do this for a living it is devastating.

Andrew and Carol Singel


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