A history of the Farm Security Administration

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Hello Friends,

Rain, rain, go away! Come back some other day. That’s how I currently feel, as we have had our fair share of rain.

In my area, wheat straw can’t get baled and hay making is in the dream stage right now. That, combined with heat and humidity that feels like you are walking around with a wet washcloth on your face, is leading to some frustration. It’s all part of farming I guess, or as Chevy Chase would say “It’s all part of the experience, Russ.”

Why does FSA exist

I thought I would throw out a little on the history of USDA/Farm Service Agency. In 1933, the Agricultural Adjustment Act was passed, as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal, to stabilize farm prices so farmers could survive. At that time, local AAA committees were established.

In 1935, the Farm Security Administration was created. Entire farming communities were relocated to new areas to be more profitable and FSA advisors worked with volunteer AAA committees and banks to keep farmers going. They promoted co-ops and even medical care.

Per capita income increased 69 percent from 1939 to 1941. Meat consumption increased from 85 pounds to 447. Milk consumption increased 50 percent.

A large part of this was attributed to the AAA Act of 1938, which authorized Congress to make decisions for marketing, prices and other aspects of America’s farming.

Name changes

In 1953, the Commodity Stabilization Service was created and Agricultural and Stabilization Service Committees were formed. In 1961, CSS became ASCS. Then in 1994, we became the Consolidated Farm Service Agency, which consisted of ASCS, the ag portion FMHA and Federal Crop Insurance Corporation.

Didn’t last long

In 1995, we became the Farm Service Agency and in 1996, FCIC left to become the Risk Management Agency.

It appears that in the not-too-distant future, our name will change again when FSA is combined with our sister agency NRCS and Risk Management.

Local roots continue

Farm Service Agency, as it stands now, consists of farm loan personnel, who are GS (General Schedule) positions, while the farm program personnel are considered “CO” or County Office. We are hired differently and are supervised differently.

The county committee, in your county, selects and hires the county director and the director, in turn, hires the employees. This process differs greatly from all other federal agencies. It was designed back with the early versions of our agency to allow us to hire quickly to respond to emergency situations.

I’m sure there are a lot of Washington bureaucrats who dislike the fact that I happen to report to and get direction from a locally elected group of farmers. The County Committee system is unique, but vital to FSA and it’s mission.

Your turn

As mentioned in previous FSA Andy articles, FSA is currently looking for candidates within your county. You have until Aug. 1 to nominate someone or yourself for the LAA that is holding an election. Call your local office for a nominating petition.

Trust me, I have never had anybody join the county committee and regret being a member. Take a chance and step up.

• • •

I saw today the House Ag Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, got a handshake deal with the House budget chairperson to significantly reduce the billions that were going to be taken from the agricultural budget, which is good news for the farming community.

Make it a great week. Until the next time,

FSA Andy

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