Farm Service office plans to close in Penn Yan
PENN YAN—The Farm Service Agency in Penn Yan will close as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plan to consolidate and cut costs.
According to the USDA, 131 Farm Service Agencies throughout 32 states will be closed. For New York, the closures will also include Albany, Saratoga and Sullivan Counties. At the time of announcing the plans, Jan. 9, the USDA did not say when the Penn Yan office would close.
Jim Barber, FSA New York state executive director, explained before any of the offices are closed, there first needs to be open meetings for public input. He said the meeting in Penn Yan is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 31, with details to follow when they are confirmed. From there, Barber said that the FSA will give the comments to the USDA. He added that given the deadlines in this process, the Penn Yan office closing is at least 120 days away.
“It’s unfortunate they are closing it,” said Farm Bureau Field Advisor Skip Jensen. “It was a surprise to me. I know they have mentioned closing it before. It means farmers will have to travel farther to get the service. It’s an inconvenience.”
Jensen added two of the nearest office remaining open include Bath and Canandaigua.
The agriculture department said the closings resulted from a review of operations, from headquarters to field offices. Cuts also include closing Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services; and Rural Development offices across the country. The agency explains these changes should improve the Farm Service Agency’s ability to serve people. When fully implemented, the USDA said these actions along with other recommended changes will save about $150 million annually.
“The USDA, like families and businesses across the country, cannot continue to operate like we did 50 years ago,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.