Noem introduces bill to keep Jackson Co. FSA office openU.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, RS.D., recently introduced legislation aimed at saving the Jackson County Farm Service Agency office.
U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, RS.D., recently introduced legislation aimed at saving the Jackson County Farm Service Agency office.
The bill seeks to clarify language in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (the farm bill) to ensure that an FSA office won’t close if area producers have to drive more than 20 miles to reach another.
“FSA offices are the heart and soul of USDA’s on-the-ground outreach and are a vital resource for South Dakotans,” Noem said in a written statement.
The farm bill prohibits closure of an FSA county or field office unless it is “located less than 20 miles from another FSA office.” Yet, because the language did not specifically indicate “driving” miles, some offices have been targeted for closure based on “as the crow flies” miles. The legislation seeks to specify “driving” miles and thereby honor the intent of the original bill.
If enacted, the bill would immediately impact offices such as the Kadoka FSA office in Jackson County, as producers would have to drive at least 23 miles to reach another FSA office. USDA announced in January that it would close 259 offices, facilities and laboratories across the country, including four FSA offices in the South Dakota counties of Jerauld, Jackson, Harding and Campbell.