Butterfield Disappointed USDA Will Close FSA Offices and Limit Access to Underserved Populations
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) expressed disappointment with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement Monday to move forward with the closures of more than 100 Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices, including three in Butterfield’s congressional district. Earlier this month, Butterfield wrote a letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to reconsider the proposal to close FSA offices in Chowan, Hertford, and Warren counties due to the high volume of farmers who rely on their services.
“These offices are indispensable to thousands of farmers in my district,” said Butterfield. “While I understand the agency must find ways to reduce spending, shuttering FSA offices in eastern North Carolina will only limit access to USDA services for underserved populations. I am certain that there is a better solution.”
Yesterday afternoon Secretary Vilsack informed Congress that in 90 days he will approve the closures of 259 domestic offices, facilities and labs, including 131 FSA offices, and seven foreign offices.
The Congressman insists that the current timeframe is insufficient notice to close the offices and guarantee that all farmers in the FSA system are properly notified of the upcoming changes. Butterfield also said he urges Secretary Vilsack to ensure that all FSA employees affected by the announced closures will not be laid off, and instead given the option of being reassigned to a nearby office.