Recent Press Releases

Thune Comments on Modifications to FSA Office Closing Plans

Bottom Up Streamlining Still Unacceptable

July 12, 2007

Washington, D.C. —  Senator Thune made the following comments today after South Dakota Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Steve Cutler announced changes to the initial FSA county office streamlining and closing plan proposed earlier this year.

"I have heard from hundreds of South Dakotans regarding the plan to close and consolidate FSA offices across the state," said Thune. "While I strongly support and encourage finding cost savings and improving efficiencies at every level of government, they should be initiated from the top down, not the bottom up."

Senator Thune introduced S. 944, legislation that would stop any potential FSA county office closures until the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture conducts a study on cost savings and/or efficiencies at the three FSA headquarters locations and all state FSA offices. Additionally, this legislation requires that the report recommendations must be implemented at all FSA headquarters and state offices before any county FSA offices may be closed.

"The modified South Dakota FSA county office closure plan released this morning was announced with no public statement that FSA will conduct a study or implement a formal plan to improve efficiencies at any FSA Headquarters locations. I find FSA's business and streamlining plan still unacceptable, simply because it begins rather than ends at the local level. I believe our farmers, ranchers, and local employees would be much more accepting of suggested changes at the county office level if they knew all FSA headquarters offices were undergoing the same degree of scrutiny and modifications to improve their operational efficiencies."

Cutler modified the original plan for office consolidations and closings which now consists of closing four South Dakota county FSA offices. The current plan no longer includes the initial proposal to consolidate of the Mellette and Jones County offices; and no longer includes transferring administration of services from Todd County, which has no office, to Tripp County. Mellette and Jones County offices are proposed to operate under a shared management plan. Todd County producers will continue being served by the Mellette County office under the current proposal.

The newly proposed plan still calls for the consolidations of Campbell County to Walworth County, Hyde County to Hand County, Sanborn County to Jerauld County, and Jackson County to Haakon County.