During the meeting, Rep. Herseth Sandlin reiterated to Administrator Lasseter and Director Cutler her concerns with USDA's plan to close or consolidate seven local FSA offices in South Dakota.
Rep. Herseth Sandlin believes it is premature to make drastic changes to our FSA offices while the Congress is just now in the beginning stages of writing the 2007 Farm Bill, which will determine the ways in which producers access and utilize FSA resources.
Rep. Herseth Sandlin said, "I have heard from hundreds of South Dakota farmers and ranchers in opposition to this plan, and I relayed those concerns to Administrator Lasseter and Director Cutler. With a new farm bill on the horizon, I continue to believe that our producers would be better served by slowing down this process so we have a better understanding what our needs will be under that new legislation. And with gas prices skyrocketing, the last thing we want to do is make FSA offices further away from producers than they already are."
In March 2007, Rep. Herseth Sandlin introduced legislation to delay any closure of FSA offices until one year after the reauthorization of the Farm Bill. Thus far, the proposal has gained support from a bipartisan coalition in the House, as well as support from industry groups such as the American Corn Growers Association.