I guess I have been a little nostalgic lately, since I just celebrated my 25th year with the Farm Service Agency. With this milestone, I also noted that this will be my fifth farm bill I will get to be part of implementing, by explaining it to our local farmers. It amazes me how much things have changed in my professional life with each new farm bill.
The programs have changed from years ago when each farm had to have set aside acres, to every acre being available for crop production. Many things have changed in the office as well; our trusty antiquated computer system has been updated. The days of yellow legal size note pads are gone and replaced with slick new laptops.
The farmers that I serve have changed; some have passed, some have been lucky enough to retire, while others are just helping out on the farm as they continue to teach their sons and daughters to farm the land they once did. I started to look into the history of FSA. I wanted to know a little bit more about the agency I represent and the hardworking farmer I serve.
I wanted to understand why the work that FSA employees do is so important, not only today, but also in the past. Here are a few interesting things I learned. The first farm bill was implemented in 1933 during the Great Depression.
It is also when you can see the first traces of the Farm Service Agency, known as the “Triple A’s” which stood for Agricultural Adjustment Administration. In 1935 the department of agriculture was established. In 1938, Congress created a more permanent farm bill, the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, with a built in requirement to update it every five years.
In 1953, the agency’s name changed and it became the Commodity Stabilization Service. Though all along FSA has been there to help stabilize farm prices at a level at which famers could survive in 1953, they also added conserving programs such as soil bank. The Commodity Stabilization Service became the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) in 1961, and the new name reflected the agency’s stabilization and resource conservation missions.
Field activities in connection with farm programs continue to be carried out through an extensive network of state and county field offices. In 1994, a reorganization of USDA resulted in the Consolidated Farm Service Agency, renamed Farm Service Agency in November 1995. The new FSA encompassed the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) and the farm credit portion of the Farmers Home Administration.
In May 1996 FCIC became the Risk Management Agency. Through all of these changes this agency’s goal has always been to serve the local farms by having an office presence in each county across the United States. We also ensure that crop prices remain affordable to the consumer while ensuring the local farmer can survive to farm another day.
That’s all for now,
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