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FSA moving to electronic communication

Thursday, November 17, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Executive Director of USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) Julia A. Wickard recently stated the Farm Service Agency is moving toward electronic communication as the delivery mechanism for informing farmers of FSA programs.

"The USDA Farm Service Agency is doing its part to reduce the federal deficit and is making changes that will affect our direct communications with farm owners and operators," Wickard said.

In an effort to reduce operating costs, FSA is reducing postage expenses as much as possible. FSA will no longer mail newsletters on farm acreage maps. Producers will need to pick maps up at the county office or receive them electronically.

"We are looking at every aspect as to how we conduct business, and we are reducing expenses wherever possible without negatively affecting our ability to provide services to producers," Wickard said.

Consequently, FSA is making an effort to collect e-mail addresses of farm owners and operators. Like other agricultural businesses today, FSA is trying to use e-mail notification to provide pertinent information such as deadlines, reminders and newsletters.

"E-mail addresses are considered personally identifiable information (PII) and are confidential at FSA. Many people have personal electronic devices and carry their lives in the palms of their hands," Wickard said.

FSA is asking for owner and operator support and assistance during the transition to digital communication.

"Our FSA County Office staffs stand ready to assist farmers in their operations and to answer any questions they might have," Wickard said.

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