INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana State Executive Director of USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) Julia Wickard recently announced USDA Secretary Thomas A. Vilsack has approved the closure of three FSA county offices in Indiana, a process that will begin immediately.
After the required notifications have been provided to producers, FSA employees and office landlords, closure dates will be established and made publicly available.
"Customer service for our producers along with employment security for our staff remains the top priority during this consolidation process," Wickard said.
The agency will provide farmers affected by closures an opportunity to choose the most convenient neighboring county office with which to conduct their future business with the agency. In addition, all employees in a closing office will be provided an opportunity to continue their work with FSA.
As a federal agency, FSA has been affected by widespread budget reductions made by Congress. Since 2011, the agency has lost 1,230 permanent employees through voluntary early separation and normal retirement.
In addition, FSA has been forced to reduce discretionary administrative expenses by more than 30 percent in the current fiscal year.
The county offices confirmed for closure in Indiana are Lake County (Crown Point), Morgan County (Martinsville), and St. Joseph County (South Bend).
For a complete list of FSA county offices affected by the decision, log on to www.fsa.usda.gov/officeconsolidations.