Hinchey Says Farm Service Agency Will Undermine

For Immediate Release                                                                                                Contact: Jeff Lieberson

September 27, 2007                                                                                                     202-225-6335 (office)
202-225-0817 (cell)

 

Hinchey Says Farm Service Agency Will Undermine
Family Farms With New York Office Closures

 

Washington, DC -- Charging that the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) is undermining and abandoning New York's family farms, Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today blasted the agency over its continued efforts to close eight county offices located throughout the state.  Hinchey has been vigorously fighting the FSA's proposal to close offices in New York, as well as across the country, since the agency provides critical services to local farmers and offers personalized attention and advice on an array of federal agricultural programs.  The congressman learned this week during a call with FSA Administrator Lasseter that Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner is poised to soon approve the FSA closure plan for New York, which includes the closure of offices in <!-- D(["mb","u003c/span>u003c/font>Albany, Broome, Herkimer, Oswego, Rensselaer, Suffolk, Sullivan, and Yates countiesu003cfont coloru003d"black">u003cspan styleu003d"color:black">.u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/p> u003cp styleu003d"text-indent:27.0pt">u003cfont sizeu003d"3" coloru003d"black" faceu003d"Times New Roman">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:12.0pt;color:black"> u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/p> u003cp styleu003d"text-indent:27.0pt">u003cfont sizeu003d"3" coloru003d"black" faceu003d"Times New Roman">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:12.0pt;color:black">"Although the Farm Service Agency's mission is to assist local farmers and serve as a federal liaison for them, the agency is systematically abandoning and undermining family farms throughout New York and the country," Hinchey said. "The 43 FSA field offices in New York provide important assistance to our state's u003c/span>u003c/font>struggling u003cfont coloru003d"black">u003cspan styleu003d"color:black">farmers and have traditionally helped to ensure the survival of family farms, upon which millions of people depend for food and other agricultural products.  Our state's small farmers are already stretched to the limit, and they certainly don't have the luxury of traveling additional hours out of their home counties to access needed federal services.  These closures will essentially reduce farmers' access to assistance, further weakening family farming in our state and across this country.  My colleagues in Congress and I are going to keep pressing this issue in order to help family farmers throughout New York and the country."u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/p> u003cp>u003cfont sizeu003d"3" coloru003d"black" faceu003d"Times New Roman">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:12.0pt;color:black"> u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/p> u003cp styleu003d"text-indent:27.0pt">u003cfont sizeu003d"3" faceu003d"Times New Roman">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:12.0pt">In early July, Hinchey was informed of the proposal by the Farm Service Agency to close and consolidate eight of its 43 New York field offices.  In response, Hinchey led 14 of his New York congressional colleagues in sending a letter to FSA Administrator Teresa Lasseter in an attempt to convince her to halt the field office closures.  Hinchey and his colleagues argued that Lasseter should discontinue the office closure process due to serious questions regarding the management and allocation of FSA's resources and concerns about the ability of the FSA to continue to operate effectively with less offices.  Hinchey's letter also highlighted the strong language contained in two pieces of legislation that passed the House of Representatives this year -- the Farm Bill and the Fiscal Year 2008 Agriculture Appropriations bill -- that blocks the FSA from closing any field office. The Senate is expected to approve similar measures before the end of the year.  After receiving no response to this letter, Hinchey called Administrator Lasseter this week to urge her to halt efforts to close local FSA offices.  Hinchey was told that FSA is moving forward with its closure plans.",1] ); //-->Albany, Broome, Herkimer, Oswego, Rensselaer, Suffolk, Sullivan, and Yates counties.

 

"Although the Farm Service Agency's mission is to assist local farmers and serve as a federal liaison for them, the agency is systematically abandoning and undermining family farms throughout New York and the country," Hinchey said. "The 43 FSA field offices in New York provide important assistance to our state's struggling farmers and have traditionally helped to ensure the survival of family farms, upon which millions of people depend for food and other agricultural products.  Our state's small farmers are already stretched to the limit, and they certainly don't have the luxury of traveling additional hours out of their home counties to access needed federal services.  These closures will essentially reduce farmers' access to assistance, further weakening family farming in our state and across this country.  My colleagues in Congress and I are going to keep pressing this issue in order to help family farmers throughout New York and the country."

 

In early July, Hinchey was informed of the proposal by the Farm Service Agency to close and consolidate eight of its 43 New York field offices.  In response, Hinchey led 14 of his New York congressional colleagues in sending a letter to FSA Administrator Teresa Lasseter in an attempt to convince her to halt the field office closures.  Hinchey and his colleagues argued that Lasseter should discontinue the office closure process due to serious questions regarding the management and allocation of FSA's resources and concerns about the ability of the FSA to continue to operate effectively with less offices.  Hinchey's letter also highlighted the strong language contained in two pieces of legislation that passed the House of Representatives this year -- the Farm Bill and the Fiscal Year 2008 Agriculture Appropriations bill -- that blocks the FSA from closing any field office. The Senate is expected to approve similar measures before the end of the year.  After receiving no response to this letter, Hinchey called Administrator Lasseter this week to urge her to halt efforts to close local FSA offices.  Hinchey was told that FSA is moving forward with its closure plans. <!-- D(["mb","u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/p> u003cp styleu003d"text-indent:27.0pt">u003cfont sizeu003d"3" faceu003d"Times New Roman">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:12.0pt"> u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/p> u003cp styleu003d"text-indent:27.0pt">u003cfont sizeu003d"3" faceu003d"Times New Roman">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:12.0pt">Hinchey also previously submitted comments at the FSA's public hearings in Broome and Sullivan counties over the summer, urging the agency to keep open those counties' offices, as well as the six other New York offices slated for closure.  The congressman outlined the critical benefits and convenience that these offices provide to local farmers in the congressional district he represents.  u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/p> u003cp styleu003d"text-indent:27.0pt">u003cfont sizeu003d"3" faceu003d"Times New Roman">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:12.0pt"> u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/p> u003cp styleu003d"text-indent:27.0pt">u003cfont sizeu003d"3" faceu003d"Times New Roman">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:12.0pt">"The FSA is racing to close these field offices now because agency officials know full well that there are several legislative measures making their way through Congress that would block the closure plan," Hinchey said. "First the agency made personnel cuts, and now it is trying make office cuts.  The Bush administration is driving the FSA to cut assistance to small family farms while continuing to direct federal resources to massive, corporate farms.  Family farms are an integral part of the fabric of America, and it is imperative that we do everything to protect them."u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/p> u003cp styleu003d"text-indent:27.0pt">u003cfont sizeu003d"3" faceu003d"Times New Roman">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:12.0pt"> u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/p> u003cp styleu003d"text-indent:27.0pt">u003cfont sizeu003d"3" faceu003d"Times New Roman">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:12.0pt">The FSA is responsible for the management of farm commodity, farm loan, conservation, and emergency programs.  The agency's county offices are open across the entire nation to provide direct assistance to local farmers.  u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/p> u003cp alignu003d"center" styleu003d"text-align:center">u003cfont sizeu003d"3" faceu003d"Times New Roman">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:12.0pt">",1] ); //-->

 

Hinchey also previously submitted comments at the FSA's public hearings in Broome and Sullivan counties over the summer, urging the agency to keep open those counties' offices, as well as the six other New York offices slated for closure.  The congressman outlined the critical benefits and convenience that these offices provide to local farmers in the congressional district he represents. 

 

"The FSA is racing to close these field offices now because agency officials know full well that there are several legislative measures making their way through Congress that would block the closure plan," Hinchey said. "First the agency made personnel cuts, and now it is trying make office cuts.  The Bush administration is driving the FSA to cut assistance to small family farms while continuing to direct federal resources to massive, corporate farms.  Family farms are an integral part of the fabric of America, and it is imperative that we do everything to protect them."

 

The FSA is responsible for the management of farm commodity, farm loan, conservation, and emergency programs.  The agency's county offices are open across the entire nation to provide direct assistance to local farmers. 

<!-- D(["mb"," u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/p> u003cp alignu003d"center" styleu003d"text-align:center">u003cfont sizeu003d"3" faceu003d"Times New Roman">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:12.0pt">###u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/p> u003c/div> u003cdiv> u003cp>u003cfont sizeu003d"3" faceu003d"Times New Roman">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:12.0pt"> u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/p> u003c/div> u003cp>u003cfont sizeu003d"2" faceu003d"Arial">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial">------------------------------u003cWBR>-------------------------u003c/span>u003c/font> u003cbr> u003cb>u003cfont sizeu003d"2" coloru003d"navy" faceu003d"Arial">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:navy;font-weight:bold">Jeff Liebersonu003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/b> u003cbr> u003cfont sizeu003d"2" faceu003d"Arial">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial">Communications Directoru003c/span>u003c/font> u003cbr> u003cfont sizeu003d"2" faceu003d"Arial">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial">Office of Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY22)u003c/span>u003c/font>u003cbr> u003cfont sizeu003d"2" faceu003d"Arial">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial">202-225-6335 (office)u003c/span>u003c/font> u003cbr> u003cfont sizeu003d"2" faceu003d"Arial">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial">202-225-1265 (direct)u003c/span>u003c/font> u003cbr> u003cfont sizeu003d"2" faceu003d"Arial">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial">202-225-0817 (cell)u003c/span>u003c/font> u003cbr> u003cfont sizeu003d"2" faceu003d"Arial">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial">u003ca hrefu003d"mailto:jeff.lieberson@mail.house.gov" targetu003d"_blank" onclicku003d"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">jeff.lieberson@mail.house.govu003c/a>u003c/span>u003c/font> u003c/p> u003cdiv> u003cp>u003cfont sizeu003d"3" faceu003d"Times New Roman">u003cspan styleu003d"font-size:12.0pt"> u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/p> u003c/div> u003c/div> u003c/div> ",0] ); //-->  

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-------------------------------------------------------
Jeff Lieberson
Communications Director
Office of Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY22)
202-225-6335 (office)
202-225-1265 (direct)
202-225-0817 (cell)
jeff.lieberson@mail.house.gov

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