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What is the Farm Service Agency?
Established in 1994, the Farm Service Agency is a federal agency responsible for providing loan guarantees and disaster relief to farmers and rural citizens, as well as implementing laws and farm conservation throughout the United States. It is a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The USDA went through a reorganization in 1994, which led to the creation of the Farm Service Agency. It was part of an effort to consolidate government departments such as the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, the Federal Crop Insurance Corp., and the Farmers Home Administration. Eventually, more departments became part of the Farm Service Agency, including the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, Agricultural Adjustment Administration, War Food Administration, Production and Marketing Administration, and Commodity Stabilization Service. Congress controls what the Farm Service Agency does by passing a new law or extending a current farm bill during legislative sessions.
The Farm Service Agency has field service centers located throughout the country, particularly in rural areas where farming is more prevalent. That includes 51 state offices and 2,124 county offices. Each state has its own appointed executive director, and each year, an additional 2,500 county administrators are elected by their peers.
Farm Service Agency example
There are many ways that the Farm Service Agency can benefit farmers, no matter the size of their operations. These include:
- Commodity and price support.
- Disaster assistance, such as the Livestock Forage Program, Livestock Indemnity Program, Emergency Assistance for Livestock, and Tree Assistance Program.
- Credit for farmers who are unable to secure private credit.
- Loans for beginning farmers.
- Loans for female and minority farmers and ranchers.
- Emergency loans for losses to crops, trees, livestock, land, or property.
- Help with conservation efforts
- Aerial photography storage to help with environmental assessments, change detection, and property boundary disputes.
- Cotton Ginning Cost Share Program.
- Modernize and Innovate the Delivery of Agricultural Systems (MIDAS) program.
- Financial management programs and services.