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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

State FSA?elects not to merge offices

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

After months of speculation, the Indiana State Farm Service Agency recently decided to keep the Clay County Farm Service Agency open after all.

Earlier this year, state farm service agents conducted a meeting at the Clay County 4-H Fairgrounds with farmers from several counties to discuss the possibility of merging the farm service agencies of both Clay and Vigo counties.

However, State Farm Service Agency Executive Director Kenny Culp told The Brazil Times on Tuesday that the county agency will remain open due to its high volume of work.

"We just decided to take it off the program," Culp said. "There's nothing going to happen."

The state agency had proposed the mergers of several county agencies as a way of saving money for the Department of Agriculture. But several farmers from the area showed up to the meeting earlier this year to express concern about the possible merger.

At the meeting, state FSA officials told the farmers that the possible merger of both Clay and Vigo offices could save close to $95,000. The proposal provided at the meeting called for the Clay office, 951 W. Craig Rd., Brazil, to be closed and merged with the Vigo office. A new office would then be constructed off State Road 46 and Interstate-70.

Several area farmers, however, said they were concerned about several things, including travel time to the proposed office.

According to Culp, the workload of the Clay County office ranks 12th in the state, giving the state agency reason to keep it open.

"After evaluating the workload in Clay County, I guess we made a mistake to even consider it," Culp said. "Early on, a decision was made that it was a good fit. But the workload was just too great."

According to FSA numbers, the Vigo County office ranks 76th in the state.

Clay County Farm Service Agency Executive Director Linda Justice said she believed the two offices would not be merged.

"I think people were really surprised by the workload of Clay County,"?Justice said. "Clay County has such a heavy workload. They are large enough they can stand on their own.

"The farmers wanted it in Clay County. That's really why it was tabled. I thought they would table it anyway."

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