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As planned, FSA office serving Spencer closes

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Submitted to the Spencer Magnet

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today its decision on Farm Service Agency  county office consolidations proposed in January as part of USDA’s Blueprint for Stronger Service. In total, FSA will consolidate 125 of the 131 offices originally proposed for consolidation with other USDA service centers. This includes the Bullitt County office that serviced Spencer County residents.
The Blueprint included USDA’s plan to close or consolidate 259 domestic offices including the FSA offices, additional facilities and labs, and seven foreign offices.
USDA followed statutory requirements provided by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill for FSA office consolidations. Two sets of criteria were used to identify FSA offices for consolidation. First, USDA identified FSA offices located less than 20 miles from another FSA office that had two or fewer permanent, full-time employees. Additionally, the proposal included all FSA offices with zero permanent employees regardless of location.
Public meetings were held within 30 days of the original announcement in every county affected by the proposal. Comments gathered during this period were reviewed by the department prior to formally notifying Congress of the proposal on Feb. 27, 2012. During the following 90-day Congressional notification period, the department reviewed data used to create the proposal and public comments received during this period. During this review, USDA determined that 6 of the original 131 proposed offices did not meet the 2008 Farm Bill criteria for consolidation. As a result, they are not included in the final plan announced today.