USDA updating FSA systems


Hello again!

As you may or may not have noticed, FSA Andy was missing last week. Sorry about that — he was in Newfoundland bear hunting two weeks before and came back to a considerable amount of stockpiled work.

It was nice to be off for nine days. Longest I’ve ever been off. I drove to Newfoundland ( I know, flying is quicker) to experience the varying provinces and to view the scenery and meet different people.

Agriculture does exist way up North. In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia I saw some small grains, hay, corn and beans. I saw some beef operations as well as dairy operations.

If I recall correctly N.S. has less than 150 dairy operations — not positive on that figure, so don’t bet the farm on it.

In Newfoundland I saw very little agriculture. Less than 500,000 people live there, on 46,000 square miles. Half the population lives in St. Johns. The rest live in coastal towns as well as inland.

I met the guide in the largest inland town in the province. The population was 600. Another interesting tidbit is you can own land in town, but nowhere else. It’s all Queensland. You can build a cabin or house anywhere you want, but it has to be lakefront and you will have to pay $100 a year to lease the land.

I did get to view a lobster-holding facility, which held about 10,000 lobsters in a series of tanks until they could be shipped out to just about anywhere.

I saw an 11-pound lobster that was going to be used for ravioli. The best ones to eat fresh are two-pounders.

Least you learned something today. Oh, and by the way, the bears won.

If you have been to the FSA office lately the employees may appear stressed out. They are, I can assure you.


USDA is in the process of updating the way we do business. It’s called MIDAS (Modernize and Innovate the Delivery of Agricultural Systems). It’s not real golden yet.

I believe it has the potential to streamline and speed up our delivery, as more subsystems become available.

The GIS maps and ability to make changes timely have seriously set county offices behind. When the agency is considerably farther behind at this time of the year than you have ever have been, it tends to make employees anxious.

Crop insurance customers are nervous, as there crop reporting dates have not been moved back and their reporting deadline is approaching. I can assure you we are working as fast as we can to get those acreage reports completed timely.

If you recently were picked for a spot check by our sister agency, NRCS, don’t be nervous. They are performing routine checks to ensure compliance with conservation compliance, which basically means they are checking to see you are a good steward of the land. You should have received a letter notifying you of such.

If you think there may be an issue you can certainly meet with the individual doing the check and discuss the issue personally.

That’s all for now,

FSA Andy


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FSA Andy is written by USDA Farm Service Agency county executive directors in northeastern Ohio.



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