Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Agriculture

May 18, 2012

USDA, FSA news and updates

Greensburg — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers farm commodity and conservation programs. FSA also makes loans to farmers and ranchers who are unable to obtain conventional credit.

FSA Outreach coordinates and implements agency-wide outreach activities to people, especially the underserved, who can benefit from the agency's programs and services. The goal of FSA Outreach is to increase the participation of underserved customers in its programs with special emphasis on those who are socially and economically disadvantaged, limited resource farmers and members of racial and ethnic minority groups.

To ensure maximum participation in FSA programs and services for underserved customers, FSA Outreach works with its partners and customers

to eliminate the following barriers:

All forms of discrimination including racial, ethnic, cultural and gender prejudices;

Language, communication, transportation, and FSA program requirements

and sign-up procedures;

Limited access to FSA programs in remote areas.

Underserved customers include:

1. Farmers/ranchers and landowners/operators with limited resources, minority groups (including African-Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Asian/Pacific Americans, Hispanics and Aleuts), women, and the

physically challenged who may need, but have not fully benefited from, USDA assistance;

Individuals and groups who have not participated in or have received limited benefits from FSA programs that may improve their quality of life, their community and/or the environment;

Rural and urban community members;

Members of religious minorities;

Small specialty crop farmers, organic farmers and other farmers with production practices that are different from most farmers in the area.

The responsibilities of FSA Outreach include:

Providing resources, including financial planning, to help farmers and

ranchers, especially the underserved;

Providing information on loans, farm commodities and conservation programs;

Educating farmers and ranchers on the FSA County Committee processes and encouraging participation in county elections, especially from the underserved.

Working with community-based organizations (including churches; social groups; 1862, 1890, and 1994 Land Grant Colleges and Universities; Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and; tribally controlled colleges to provide technical assistance, training, and enhanced program delivery to underserved communities, cooperatives, grower associations and other USDA agencies);

Helping customers understand USDA programs and assist in completing forms and applications;

Providing program and service information to all customers in a friendly and timely manner.

The Farm Service Agency telephone number is 812-663-8674.

Additional information about this or any other FSA programs can be found at

www.fsa.usda.gov or visit the local office at 1333 N Liberty Circle, Greensburg.

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