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Overview:

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) was formed to support farmers in times of need by offering loans, payments, and disaster relief programs. Because the risks that can come with growing food depend on the economy, food preferences and acts of nature, the government felt it was necessary to protect the people and operations that provide food for Americans. The controversies that have arisen in the last few decades regarding the FSA center on the way the assistance has been distributed and the fact that Americans now import much of their foodstuffs.

 

According to the FSA, their agency provides services to farm operations including loans, commodity price supports, conservation payments, and disaster assistance. The agency aims to assist farmers in adjusting production to meet demand, in order to create a steady price range of agricultural products for both farmers and consumers. It provides credit to agricultural producers who are unable to receive private, commercial credit, as well as distributing grants to those who qualify. The FSA also works with farmers and their debtors to try to arbitrate agreements and head off foreclosure. The Administrator of the Farm Service Agency is Bruce Nelson.

more
History:

Although it was officially named the Farm Service Agency in 1996, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) has roots in several Great Depression programs, including the Resettlement Administration, which was created as part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. The initial goal was to relocate farming communities to areas where farming was thought to be more profitable, using cooperatives and even providing medical care to poor rural families. This agency was renamed the Farm Security Administration in 1935.

 

Another early predecessor was the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, which was created in 1933 to help stabilize farm prices by offering price support loans to farmers to create crop reduction. Further changes included the institution of commodity marketing controls and aid to farmers to obtain parity pricing and parity income, making the federal government the primary decision maker for American farmers.

 

The Farmers Home Administration, another FSA predecessor, was created in 1946 as a result of a consolidation between the Farm Security Administration and the Emergency Crop and Feed Loan Division of the Farm Credit Administration. This allowed the government to insure loans to farmers made by other lenders. Later legislation established lending for rural housing, rural business enterprises, and rural water and waste disposal agencies.

 

After World War II, new priorities were established as overproduction of certain commodities threatened to drop income levels. In 1953, the agency was renamed the Commodity Stabilization Service, which focused on the preservation of farm income by taking land out of production for periods that lasted as long as 10 years. In 1961, the agency was renamed once again to the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service; that lasted until 1994, when it became the Consolidated Farm Service Agency.

 

In 1996, it was renamed once again to its current title, which has the same acronym as its early predecessor in the Great Depression. The new Farm Service Agency, or FSA, combined the functions of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service and the farm credit portion of the Farmers Home Administration.

more
What it Does:

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers farm commodity loan and purchase programs, farm ownership and operating loans, and the conservation reserve program, in order to maintain a self-sustaining food supply in the United States. It also provides disaster assistance and administrative support to the Commodity Credit Corporation, which funds most of the commodity and export programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Programs in the FSA include:

 

Farm Loan Programs

Conservation Programs

Disaster Assistance Programs

Energy Programs

Financial Management Programs

Farm Payment Programs

Commodity Operations (pdf)

 

FSA programs are handled through more than 2,346 state and county offices located in the 48 continental states. However, in accordance with the USDA’s “Blueprint for Stronger Service” plan, the agency—in 2012—will close 131 of its service center locations in 32 states.

 

From the Web Site of the Farm Service Agency

Audio Files

Calendar of Events and Reports

Commodity Operations

Conservation Programs

Contact Information

Disaster Assistance Programs

Economic and Policy Analysis

Elections

Energy Programs

En Espanol

Fact Sheets

FAQs

Farm Bill

Farm Loan Programs

Financial Management Information

Forms

Laws and Regulations

Media Gallery

Meetings and Events

News Releases

News Releases: Emergency Designation

News Subscriptions

Newsletter: Fence Post

Newsroom

Online Services

Organization and Structure of FSA

Outreach and Education

Payment Eligibility

Price Support

Public Service Announcements

Speeches and Congressional Testimony

Staff Biographies

State Offices

Strategic Plan (pdf)

Videos

more
Where Does the Money Go:

Between 2002 and 2011, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) gave more than $117 billion in direct payments to recipients, according to a query of USAspending.gov. It also gave $1.2 billion in loans and more than $73 million in grants from 2002-2011, and $14.8 billion in other aid from 2000-2010.

 

The FSA spent $13.1 billion on 22,767 contractor transactions between 2002 and 2011. The top five types of products or services it purchased were agricultural and forestry products ($3,307,576,767), bakery and cereal products ($2,791,772,212), dairy foods and eggs, ($2,314,173,804), food oils and fats ($2,089,265,181), and fruits and vegetables ($906,948,098).

 

The top four contractors employed by FSA during this period were:

1. Archer Daniels Midland Company $1,901,639,176 

2. Cal Western Packaging Corp.    $952,274,272 

3. Cargill Incorporated    $757,386,610 

4. Bunge Limited    $737,697,340 

 

Although subsidies are received by farmers who qualify in the United States, data from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group has found that only 19 congressional districts (of 435) accounted for half of the federal crop subsidies paid between 2003 and 2005. During this same time period, two-thirds of farmers collected no farm bill subsidies at all. The top 2% of beneficiaries received 27% of all farm subsidies. The top 6% received 52%, and the top 15% received 75% of total subsidies. The bottom 80% of beneficiaries shared 16% of the benefits of crop subsidies. 

Farm Bill 2007 - Map (Environmental Working Group)

Farm Bill 2007 - Farm Subsidy Database (Environmental Working Group)

Farm Bill 2007 - Crop Subsidy Program Beneficiaries (Environmental Working Group)

more
Controversies:

Helping Tobacco Farmers

The Tobacco Transition Payment Program, also known as the “tobacco buy-out,” helps tobacco quota holders and producers transition to the free market. Under this program, the federal government makes payments to tobacco farmers in order to allow them the time and resources to grow other crops. The Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-357), signed by President George W. Bush on Oct. 22, 2004, ended this Depression-era tobacco quota program. The program provided the annual transitional payments for 10 years to eligible tobacco quota holders and producers. Payments began in 2005 and will continue until 2014. Payments are funded through assessments of approximately $10 billion on tobacco product manufacturers and importers.

 

Office Closures

In the second term of the Bush administration, budget cutbacks resulted in the closing of FSA offices across the United States. In September 2005, the agency proposed the closures of 30% of its offices and planned to eventually close 713 of the 2,351 offices nationwide, according to a summary the department provided to the Senate Agriculture Committee. In 2012—in accordance with the USDA’s “Blueprint for Stronger Service” plan—the FSA announced its plan to close 131 of its current 2,346 service center locations in 32 states. Many farmers have protested these cuts, as local FSA offices have been a crucial connection between farmers and the department since the 1930s.

Farm Service Agency Transforming (by Layton Ehmke, Homer Tribune)

Plan: 10, not 12 FSA offices likely to close (by Art Hovey, Lincoln Journal Star)

 

Subsidies

Large sums of money are given annually through price supports for certain crops or farmers. Such subsidies artificially keep American produce prices low on foreign markets, harming struggling foreign farmers. Half of the subsidies available go to the top 6% of farmers, and half of this money flows to the top 10 districts for farming. “I hope that reform momentum can continue to build until we have a more fiscally responsible safety net for all farmers rather than subsidies for a select few," Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Indiana) said after the Senate approved its farm bill. “The bill further increases price supports and continues to send farm subsidies to people who are among the wealthiest 2% of Americans,” said Chuck Connor, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Betting the Family Farm (by Sam Hurst, Gourmet)

 

Meat vs. Vegetables

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine asks, “Why does a salad cost more than a Big Mac?” The answer lies in the recent Farm Bill passed by the Senate that allocates nearly three-quarters of all subsidies to the meat and dairy industry. Over-emphasizing meat production is neither good for the environment nor the health of people, some argue.

Why Does a Salad Cost More Than a Big Mac? (PCRM report)

Government says it made $2.8 billion wrong farm payments (by Libby Quaid, AG Weekly)

more
Suggested Reforms:

Modernizing the FSA

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) unveiled several reforms in 2011 and 2012 designed to make farmers’ lives easier and less complicated when it comes to dealing with the U.S. government.

 

In November 2011, the FSA proposed changes that would reduce the time it takes farmers and ranchers to receive a disaster designation from Washington following natural disasters. The reforms would mean receiving loans and other assistance in less time.

 

Another change from FSA allowed farmers and ranchers to apply to its Conservation Reserve Program with a single visit to an agency office.

 

In 2012, the FSA produced an online guide designed to help farmers and ranchers figure their way through the Farm Loan Program. The guide explains what types of loans are available, terms for loan servicing and other resources for starting, expanding, or owning a farm or ranch.

Agriculture Secretary Previews New Reforms (by Charles Clark, Government Executive)

Newly Released Publication Guides Farmers, Ranchers Through FSA Loan Process (by Tanya Brown, Fence Post)

MIDAS Project Kickoff Held (Farm Services Agency)

more
Former Directors:

Val Dolcini, 2011 (Acting Administrator)

 

Jonathan Coppess, 2009-2011

Jonathan Coppess has been around farming and the agriculture industry his entire life, having come from a long line of farmers and worked on ag issues in Congress until recently. Hailing from seven generations of farmers, he grew up on his family’s corn and soybean farm in Darke County, Ohio, before attending the state’s Miami University. After earning his bachelor’s in business, he went to work for Archer Daniels Midland in the late 1990s as a grain merchandiser. Coppess was responsible for commodity purchasing, processed-product sales, and related hedging activities utilizing the Chicago Board of Trade. He then went back to school to get his law degree from George Washington University in Washington D.C. He passed the bar in Illinois and went to work for Freeborn & Peters LLP in Chicago as a litigator from 2001-2005. In early 2004, he took time off to work for the presidential campaign of John Edwards.

Having decided to pursue a career in agricultural policy, Coppess moved back to Washington D.C. in February 2006 to work for Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) as a legislative assistant handling agriculture, energy and environment issues. He advised Nelson, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, on agricultural issues and worked extensively on the 2008 Farm Bill legislation. Coppess also helped formulate policy on biofuels, rural development, energy, environmental, and trade issues.

In May 2009, he joined the FSA as the deputy administrator for farm programs, before being selected in July by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to take over the leadership of the agency.

Coppess and his wife, Susan, have one daughter.

Jonathan Coppess Biography (USDA) (pdf)

 

 

Doug Caruso, April-July 2009

Caruso was only in office less than three months before he abruptly resigned from the Administrator position of the FSA saying that the job was not what he expected. According to a report by the Indiana Prairie Farmer, Caruso said: “While I believe USDA leaders and I share the same goals, we clearly have divergent views on how to accomplish those goals… Good people with the same goals and objectives can and will differ on tactics.  Those differences made me a bad fit for the position and, given that reality, the most constructive thing I could do was step aside to make way for USDA leaders to appoint someone more in synch with their vision.”

 

Caruso had previously headed the Wisconsin FSA on the appointment of the Clinton Administration from 1993-2001. Prior to that, he worked as a state director for U.S. Senator Herb Kohl's office and was also the general manager of the former Farmers Union Milk Marketing Cooperative. In 2003, he was hired as the CEO of Wisconsin Farmers Union Specialty Cheese, a dairy foods manufacturing firm based in Montfort, a position he left to take the Administrator job. Following his resignation, Caruso returned to Wisconsin to lead the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

Doug Caruso to lead Wisconsin Farmers Union (by Bob Meyer, Brownfield Ag News)

Farm Service Agency has New Boss after Dairyman's Exit (by Jerry Hagstrom, CongressDaily)

Caruso Steps Down As National FSA Administrator (Wisconsin Ag Connection)

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Names Doug Caruso as Administrator Of The Farm Service Agency

 

Teresa Lasseter, 2005-2009

Teresa Lasseter grew up on a farm in Tifton, Georgia. She graduated from Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College with a degree in business administration. Lasseter worked for the Georgia Department of transportation directly after graduating college and before taking a part-time summer job in the FSA county office in 1977. She held a variety of positions while traveling the state and familiarizing herself with farm programs on the local level and entered the agency's management training program before stepping back in 1993 due to family concerns. A political appointment from then-Gov. Zell Miller kept her closer to home. She was executive director of the Georgia Agrirama Development Authority in Tifton, remaining there until 1999. During this time back at home she also chaired the Chamber of Commerce in Tifton. U.S. Rep. Saxby Chambliss led the effort to secure Lasseter's nomination by the Bush administration to the position of FSA executive director for Georgia. One year later she was appointed the Associate Administrator for Programs (in the FSA) and asked to move to Washington D.C., where she worked from 2003 to 2004. Most recently, Lasseter served six years as the Executive Director of Tifton, Georgia's Agrirama Development Authority. The 30-year-old Agrirama is an educational living history center dedicated to bringing rural life of turn-of-the-century Georgia to life. She was appointed chief of the FSA by agriculture secretary Mike Johanns in October 2005. She is the first administrator to have worked her way up through the organization's ranks. She is also the first female administrator. Lasseter also serves as the executive vice president of the Commodity Credit Corporation, a wholly owned government corporation with a $30 billion line of credit with the United States Department of Treasury.

Teresa Lasseter Linkedin Profile

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Comments

Sue 1 month ago
Kathleen, My husband and I just met with the FSA yesterday as we are looking at starting an additional business on our farm. We purchased our farm 6 years ago by going through traditional lending institutions, and were able to obtain financing because of our personal credit history. We both have worked for over 25 years in tradtional job AND work on our farm AND are looking at expanding our farming opportunities. We pay taxes - PLENTY of taxes. Just like all business, purchases of items that are directly related to the end product are tax exempt. It's not just farmers! Get your facts straight!! We are using the FSA, because our bank is only willing to loan us money on secured structures and equipment. We have to go to the FSA for a LOAN - yes, not free money! We have to pay it back. If not for the FSA, our business would not get up and running, and it has the potential to put some people in our particular part of the country that is very economically depressed, to work. If not for small farmers like my husband and myself, we would all be subject to eating what huge mega farms produced, and subject to the prices they would charge. You are WAY off base, and very insulting.
Carrie Dubray 1 month ago
I was raised for a time on a farm and understand the hard work and the invested hours that are required as well as the lack of financial resources and rewards for providing the very products that we Americans eat, and drink on a daily bases. I am appalled at some of the farm conditions that I pass every day. My heart goes out to the animals that have to live in such conditions and be used as lower than any living creature should be used. The FSA is suppose to help however I feel the truth is that those in need are the ones to see little to no help. I would like to be a voice for those less fortunate - what can be done? If I were rich or I won the lottery I would build an organization and travel all over the country to help. I believe there should be a Not-for-profit organization started up where donations would be sought out and managed for the use of preserving and rebuilding the farms that are in need, to provide the medical attention and food as I stated for those less fortunate! What can we do to re-build our Farms? Please tell me what I can do?, thank you for listening...
MadSat 1 year ago
All these people grabbing government money. Shameful. They need to at least show title to land, two forms of government issued photo ID, take a drug test and have all land encumbered by them or their operations subject to inspection for illegal activities, such as hiring of illegal immigrants, meth labs, growing of drugs, etc., to qualify for these handouts.
Edward Fransen 1 year ago
Kathleen, I don't know where you were raised and by whom, however, please step off the hay bail and load your brain before you shoot your mouth off. Just as in any form of business or political office there are those who rape the system and get much more than they ever deserved or worked for. Now that I have that out of the way, 99% of the farmers in this country are not nor have they ever lost their dignity for the almighty dollar. You young lady are way off base. Come out and walk in the shoes of just some of these farmers who work non stop, not just 8 hrs a day or like politicians 100 days a year. Shame on you for your loose lip statement that you posted above. If there is any agency in this country or business that is raping the public and taking advantage of Free, it is the politicians. When we rid ourselves of that cancer , vote them out and replace them with hard working people who will do things for the country before themselves, then we will see things change . You are Unchristian. How dare you. Ask God for forgiveness for the meal you eat everyday comes from one of those Welfare Farmers business.
J.P. 1 year ago
The FSA DOES NOT offer crop insurance!!! It certify's who owns/rents the land. The insurance is through a company kind of like State Farm. So... why do I need a middle man like the FSA??? Is this a waste of 3 Billion?
Kathleen 1 year ago
How much does Val Dolcini get paid and how many hours a week does he work?
Kathleen 1 year ago
What other business has a taxpayer agency working for them to get them the most taxpayer money. The cost of these programs to the taxpayer who does go to a job everyday that they might hate and supports farmers is shameful. What other business receives direct payments just for owning their place of business. Farmers are businesspeople and if they aren't successful on their own they shouldn't be farming, like any other business. They have become entitlement whores. It is Farmer Welfare and when they receive money for things like conservation and crop insurance which we pay 70% of and don't pay sales tax on equip they should be ashamed. Somebody is taking up that slack. As for Farm Service I'm sure they love to make their visit to you so you can show them more ways to get "free" money. Its a racket. Farmers have lost their dignity to the almighty dollar. Unchristian! Anthing for a buck.
Edward Frederick 3 years ago
i think it's pretty disgusting when our government cancels the drought for newton and boon and all of arkansas for that matter, when we only received a couple of rain drops. i know that i was feeding hay back in june, and for a begging farmer that makes impossible to make my yearly fsa payment. i really think you all should reconceder, and make it right for these new farmers. ...
Chuck Johnson 5 years ago
There seems very little that a farmer for 38 years facing foreclosure can expect from OUR government. Does anyone know where reason resides and the paperwork maze dies ??? Thank You

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Founded: 1996
Annual Budget: $3.021 billion (FY 2013 Request); $4.7 billion in farm loan and grant programs (FY 2013 Proposal)
Employees: 4,494 federal; 8,197 non-federal (2013 Proposed)
Official Website: http://www.fsa.usda.gov
Farm Service Agency
Garcia, Juan
Administrator

Juan Garcia was selected to serve as Administrator for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) on July 15, 2012. An agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, FSA provides services to farm operations including loans, commodity price supports, conservation payments, and disaster assistance. Garcia had served as FSA deputy administrator for Farm Programs since May 2011, managing all programs under the divisions of Production Emergencies and Compliance, Conservation and Environmental Programs, and Price Support.

 

A native of Lyford, Texas, Garcia was born circa 1954 and grew up on his family’s 500-acre cotton, grain sorghum, and livestock farm, which has been in his family since 1860. Garcia earned a B.S. in Animal Science at Texas A&I in Kingsville (now Texas A&M University-Kingsville) in 1976.

 

Joining USDA circa 1977, Garcia served early in his career as county executive director for the Texas counties of Nolan, Hidalgo and Cameron, and as district director for the southern and eastern districts of the state. He also worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eventually he worked his way up to be the manager of agricultural programs for Texas and assistant state executive director for FSA. In June 2009 he was named Texas state executive director, having served as acting director since January of that year.

 

Garcia and his wife, Belinda, have three grown children.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Juan Garcia, Administrator, Farm Service Agency (by Brian Resnick, National Journal)

more
Nelson, Bruce
Previous Administrator

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA), which provides services to farm operations such as loans, commodity price supports, conservation payments, and disaster assistance, is led by a third generation Montana farmer. Bruce Nelson was selected to serve as FSA’s Acting Administrator in May 2011 and its Administrator two months later.

 
Born May 24, 1951, in Helena, Montana, Nelson was raised on the wheat farm his grandparents had homesteaded. He graduated from Fort Benson High School in 1969 and earned a B.A. in Political Science at the University of Montana in 1973.
 
Starting his career in public service, Nelson served as Bicentennial liaison for the office of Democratic Governor Tom Judge from 1975 to 1976 and as Judge’s administrative assistant from 1976 to 1977. In 1976 he was Montana coordinator for the Frank Church for President campaign. From 1979 to 1980 Nelson served as chief of staff to Congressman Pat Williams (D-Montana). He worked as chairman of the Montana Democratic Party from November 1983 to September 1991.
 
Between 1981 and 1986, Nelson was vice-president of Triangle N Farms, and he then served as its president from 1987 to 1993. He was also a partner in MAX Associates from 1991 to 1993.
 
Nelson was originally appointed to serve as the State Executive Director of the Farm Service Agency in Montana by President Bill Clinton in 1993, and stayed until the end of the Clinton administration in 2000. Returning to the private sector, Nelson worked as development project manager for Zoot Enterprises, a “credit decisioning and loan origination” company in Bozeman, from 2001 to 2004.
 
He then served as Governor Brian Schweitzer’s chief of staff from 2005 to 2009. In June 2009, Nelson was appointed by the Obama administration to again serve as state executive director of FSA in Montana.
 
Nelson and his wife, Nancy, have two sons and a daughter. A lifelong Democrat, Nelson has contributed $10,745 to Democratic candidates and causes since 1990, including $2,000 each to the Montana Democratic Party and to Governor Brian Schweitzer, and $1,000 to Barack Obama and to Montana’s Democratic Senators, Max Baucus and Jon Tester.
 
 
 
more
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) was formed to support farmers in times of need by offering loans, payments, and disaster relief programs. Because the risks that can come with growing food depend on the economy, food preferences and acts of nature, the government felt it was necessary to protect the people and operations that provide food for Americans. The controversies that have arisen in the last few decades regarding the FSA center on the way the assistance has been distributed and the fact that Americans now import much of their foodstuffs.

 

According to the FSA, their agency provides services to farm operations including loans, commodity price supports, conservation payments, and disaster assistance. The agency aims to assist farmers in adjusting production to meet demand, in order to create a steady price range of agricultural products for both farmers and consumers. It provides credit to agricultural producers who are unable to receive private, commercial credit, as well as distributing grants to those who qualify. The FSA also works with farmers and their debtors to try to arbitrate agreements and head off foreclosure. The Administrator of the Farm Service Agency is Bruce Nelson.

more
History:

Although it was officially named the Farm Service Agency in 1996, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) has roots in several Great Depression programs, including the Resettlement Administration, which was created as part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. The initial goal was to relocate farming communities to areas where farming was thought to be more profitable, using cooperatives and even providing medical care to poor rural families. This agency was renamed the Farm Security Administration in 1935.

 

Another early predecessor was the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, which was created in 1933 to help stabilize farm prices by offering price support loans to farmers to create crop reduction. Further changes included the institution of commodity marketing controls and aid to farmers to obtain parity pricing and parity income, making the federal government the primary decision maker for American farmers.

 

The Farmers Home Administration, another FSA predecessor, was created in 1946 as a result of a consolidation between the Farm Security Administration and the Emergency Crop and Feed Loan Division of the Farm Credit Administration. This allowed the government to insure loans to farmers made by other lenders. Later legislation established lending for rural housing, rural business enterprises, and rural water and waste disposal agencies.

 

After World War II, new priorities were established as overproduction of certain commodities threatened to drop income levels. In 1953, the agency was renamed the Commodity Stabilization Service, which focused on the preservation of farm income by taking land out of production for periods that lasted as long as 10 years. In 1961, the agency was renamed once again to the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service; that lasted until 1994, when it became the Consolidated Farm Service Agency.

 

In 1996, it was renamed once again to its current title, which has the same acronym as its early predecessor in the Great Depression. The new Farm Service Agency, or FSA, combined the functions of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service and the farm credit portion of the Farmers Home Administration.

more
What it Does:

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers farm commodity loan and purchase programs, farm ownership and operating loans, and the conservation reserve program, in order to maintain a self-sustaining food supply in the United States. It also provides disaster assistance and administrative support to the Commodity Credit Corporation, which funds most of the commodity and export programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Programs in the FSA include:

 

Farm Loan Programs

Conservation Programs

Disaster Assistance Programs

Energy Programs

Financial Management Programs

Farm Payment Programs

Commodity Operations (pdf)

 

FSA programs are handled through more than 2,346 state and county offices located in the 48 continental states. However, in accordance with the USDA’s “Blueprint for Stronger Service” plan, the agency—in 2012—will close 131 of its service center locations in 32 states.

 

From the Web Site of the Farm Service Agency

Audio Files

Calendar of Events and Reports

Commodity Operations

Conservation Programs

Contact Information

Disaster Assistance Programs

Economic and Policy Analysis

Elections

Energy Programs

En Espanol

Fact Sheets

FAQs

Farm Bill

Farm Loan Programs

Financial Management Information

Forms

Laws and Regulations

Media Gallery

Meetings and Events

News Releases

News Releases: Emergency Designation

News Subscriptions

Newsletter: Fence Post

Newsroom

Online Services

Organization and Structure of FSA

Outreach and Education

Payment Eligibility

Price Support

Public Service Announcements

Speeches and Congressional Testimony

Staff Biographies

State Offices

Strategic Plan (pdf)

Videos

more
Where Does the Money Go:

Between 2002 and 2011, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) gave more than $117 billion in direct payments to recipients, according to a query of USAspending.gov. It also gave $1.2 billion in loans and more than $73 million in grants from 2002-2011, and $14.8 billion in other aid from 2000-2010.

 

The FSA spent $13.1 billion on 22,767 contractor transactions between 2002 and 2011. The top five types of products or services it purchased were agricultural and forestry products ($3,307,576,767), bakery and cereal products ($2,791,772,212), dairy foods and eggs, ($2,314,173,804), food oils and fats ($2,089,265,181), and fruits and vegetables ($906,948,098).

 

The top four contractors employed by FSA during this period were:

1. Archer Daniels Midland Company $1,901,639,176 

2. Cal Western Packaging Corp.    $952,274,272 

3. Cargill Incorporated    $757,386,610 

4. Bunge Limited    $737,697,340 

 

Although subsidies are received by farmers who qualify in the United States, data from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group has found that only 19 congressional districts (of 435) accounted for half of the federal crop subsidies paid between 2003 and 2005. During this same time period, two-thirds of farmers collected no farm bill subsidies at all. The top 2% of beneficiaries received 27% of all farm subsidies. The top 6% received 52%, and the top 15% received 75% of total subsidies. The bottom 80% of beneficiaries shared 16% of the benefits of crop subsidies. 

Farm Bill 2007 - Map (Environmental Working Group)

Farm Bill 2007 - Farm Subsidy Database (Environmental Working Group)

Farm Bill 2007 - Crop Subsidy Program Beneficiaries (Environmental Working Group)

more
Controversies:

Helping Tobacco Farmers

The Tobacco Transition Payment Program, also known as the “tobacco buy-out,” helps tobacco quota holders and producers transition to the free market. Under this program, the federal government makes payments to tobacco farmers in order to allow them the time and resources to grow other crops. The Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-357), signed by President George W. Bush on Oct. 22, 2004, ended this Depression-era tobacco quota program. The program provided the annual transitional payments for 10 years to eligible tobacco quota holders and producers. Payments began in 2005 and will continue until 2014. Payments are funded through assessments of approximately $10 billion on tobacco product manufacturers and importers.

 

Office Closures

In the second term of the Bush administration, budget cutbacks resulted in the closing of FSA offices across the United States. In September 2005, the agency proposed the closures of 30% of its offices and planned to eventually close 713 of the 2,351 offices nationwide, according to a summary the department provided to the Senate Agriculture Committee. In 2012—in accordance with the USDA’s “Blueprint for Stronger Service” plan—the FSA announced its plan to close 131 of its current 2,346 service center locations in 32 states. Many farmers have protested these cuts, as local FSA offices have been a crucial connection between farmers and the department since the 1930s.

Farm Service Agency Transforming (by Layton Ehmke, Homer Tribune)

Plan: 10, not 12 FSA offices likely to close (by Art Hovey, Lincoln Journal Star)

 

Subsidies

Large sums of money are given annually through price supports for certain crops or farmers. Such subsidies artificially keep American produce prices low on foreign markets, harming struggling foreign farmers. Half of the subsidies available go to the top 6% of farmers, and half of this money flows to the top 10 districts for farming. “I hope that reform momentum can continue to build until we have a more fiscally responsible safety net for all farmers rather than subsidies for a select few," Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Indiana) said after the Senate approved its farm bill. “The bill further increases price supports and continues to send farm subsidies to people who are among the wealthiest 2% of Americans,” said Chuck Connor, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Betting the Family Farm (by Sam Hurst, Gourmet)

 

Meat vs. Vegetables

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine asks, “Why does a salad cost more than a Big Mac?” The answer lies in the recent Farm Bill passed by the Senate that allocates nearly three-quarters of all subsidies to the meat and dairy industry. Over-emphasizing meat production is neither good for the environment nor the health of people, some argue.

Why Does a Salad Cost More Than a Big Mac? (PCRM report)

Government says it made $2.8 billion wrong farm payments (by Libby Quaid, AG Weekly)

more
Suggested Reforms:

Modernizing the FSA

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) unveiled several reforms in 2011 and 2012 designed to make farmers’ lives easier and less complicated when it comes to dealing with the U.S. government.

 

In November 2011, the FSA proposed changes that would reduce the time it takes farmers and ranchers to receive a disaster designation from Washington following natural disasters. The reforms would mean receiving loans and other assistance in less time.

 

Another change from FSA allowed farmers and ranchers to apply to its Conservation Reserve Program with a single visit to an agency office.

 

In 2012, the FSA produced an online guide designed to help farmers and ranchers figure their way through the Farm Loan Program. The guide explains what types of loans are available, terms for loan servicing and other resources for starting, expanding, or owning a farm or ranch.

Agriculture Secretary Previews New Reforms (by Charles Clark, Government Executive)

Newly Released Publication Guides Farmers, Ranchers Through FSA Loan Process (by Tanya Brown, Fence Post)

MIDAS Project Kickoff Held (Farm Services Agency)

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Former Directors:

Val Dolcini, 2011 (Acting Administrator)

 

Jonathan Coppess, 2009-2011

Jonathan Coppess has been around farming and the agriculture industry his entire life, having come from a long line of farmers and worked on ag issues in Congress until recently. Hailing from seven generations of farmers, he grew up on his family’s corn and soybean farm in Darke County, Ohio, before attending the state’s Miami University. After earning his bachelor’s in business, he went to work for Archer Daniels Midland in the late 1990s as a grain merchandiser. Coppess was responsible for commodity purchasing, processed-product sales, and related hedging activities utilizing the Chicago Board of Trade. He then went back to school to get his law degree from George Washington University in Washington D.C. He passed the bar in Illinois and went to work for Freeborn & Peters LLP in Chicago as a litigator from 2001-2005. In early 2004, he took time off to work for the presidential campaign of John Edwards.

Having decided to pursue a career in agricultural policy, Coppess moved back to Washington D.C. in February 2006 to work for Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) as a legislative assistant handling agriculture, energy and environment issues. He advised Nelson, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, on agricultural issues and worked extensively on the 2008 Farm Bill legislation. Coppess also helped formulate policy on biofuels, rural development, energy, environmental, and trade issues.

In May 2009, he joined the FSA as the deputy administrator for farm programs, before being selected in July by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to take over the leadership of the agency.

Coppess and his wife, Susan, have one daughter.

Jonathan Coppess Biography (USDA) (pdf)

 

 

Doug Caruso, April-July 2009

Caruso was only in office less than three months before he abruptly resigned from the Administrator position of the FSA saying that the job was not what he expected. According to a report by the Indiana Prairie Farmer, Caruso said: “While I believe USDA leaders and I share the same goals, we clearly have divergent views on how to accomplish those goals… Good people with the same goals and objectives can and will differ on tactics.  Those differences made me a bad fit for the position and, given that reality, the most constructive thing I could do was step aside to make way for USDA leaders to appoint someone more in synch with their vision.”

 

Caruso had previously headed the Wisconsin FSA on the appointment of the Clinton Administration from 1993-2001. Prior to that, he worked as a state director for U.S. Senator Herb Kohl's office and was also the general manager of the former Farmers Union Milk Marketing Cooperative. In 2003, he was hired as the CEO of Wisconsin Farmers Union Specialty Cheese, a dairy foods manufacturing firm based in Montfort, a position he left to take the Administrator job. Following his resignation, Caruso returned to Wisconsin to lead the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

Doug Caruso to lead Wisconsin Farmers Union (by Bob Meyer, Brownfield Ag News)

Farm Service Agency has New Boss after Dairyman's Exit (by Jerry Hagstrom, CongressDaily)

Caruso Steps Down As National FSA Administrator (Wisconsin Ag Connection)

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Names Doug Caruso as Administrator Of The Farm Service Agency

 

Teresa Lasseter, 2005-2009

Teresa Lasseter grew up on a farm in Tifton, Georgia. She graduated from Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College with a degree in business administration. Lasseter worked for the Georgia Department of transportation directly after graduating college and before taking a part-time summer job in the FSA county office in 1977. She held a variety of positions while traveling the state and familiarizing herself with farm programs on the local level and entered the agency's management training program before stepping back in 1993 due to family concerns. A political appointment from then-Gov. Zell Miller kept her closer to home. She was executive director of the Georgia Agrirama Development Authority in Tifton, remaining there until 1999. During this time back at home she also chaired the Chamber of Commerce in Tifton. U.S. Rep. Saxby Chambliss led the effort to secure Lasseter's nomination by the Bush administration to the position of FSA executive director for Georgia. One year later she was appointed the Associate Administrator for Programs (in the FSA) and asked to move to Washington D.C., where she worked from 2003 to 2004. Most recently, Lasseter served six years as the Executive Director of Tifton, Georgia's Agrirama Development Authority. The 30-year-old Agrirama is an educational living history center dedicated to bringing rural life of turn-of-the-century Georgia to life. She was appointed chief of the FSA by agriculture secretary Mike Johanns in October 2005. She is the first administrator to have worked her way up through the organization's ranks. She is also the first female administrator. Lasseter also serves as the executive vice president of the Commodity Credit Corporation, a wholly owned government corporation with a $30 billion line of credit with the United States Department of Treasury.

Teresa Lasseter Linkedin Profile

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Comments

Sue 1 month ago
Kathleen, My husband and I just met with the FSA yesterday as we are looking at starting an additional business on our farm. We purchased our farm 6 years ago by going through traditional lending institutions, and were able to obtain financing because of our personal credit history. We both have worked for over 25 years in tradtional job AND work on our farm AND are looking at expanding our farming opportunities. We pay taxes - PLENTY of taxes. Just like all business, purchases of items that are directly related to the end product are tax exempt. It's not just farmers! Get your facts straight!! We are using the FSA, because our bank is only willing to loan us money on secured structures and equipment. We have to go to the FSA for a LOAN - yes, not free money! We have to pay it back. If not for the FSA, our business would not get up and running, and it has the potential to put some people in our particular part of the country that is very economically depressed, to work. If not for small farmers like my husband and myself, we would all be subject to eating what huge mega farms produced, and subject to the prices they would charge. You are WAY off base, and very insulting.
Carrie Dubray 1 month ago
I was raised for a time on a farm and understand the hard work and the invested hours that are required as well as the lack of financial resources and rewards for providing the very products that we Americans eat, and drink on a daily bases. I am appalled at some of the farm conditions that I pass every day. My heart goes out to the animals that have to live in such conditions and be used as lower than any living creature should be used. The FSA is suppose to help however I feel the truth is that those in need are the ones to see little to no help. I would like to be a voice for those less fortunate - what can be done? If I were rich or I won the lottery I would build an organization and travel all over the country to help. I believe there should be a Not-for-profit organization started up where donations would be sought out and managed for the use of preserving and rebuilding the farms that are in need, to provide the medical attention and food as I stated for those less fortunate! What can we do to re-build our Farms? Please tell me what I can do?, thank you for listening...
MadSat 1 year ago
All these people grabbing government money. Shameful. They need to at least show title to land, two forms of government issued photo ID, take a drug test and have all land encumbered by them or their operations subject to inspection for illegal activities, such as hiring of illegal immigrants, meth labs, growing of drugs, etc., to qualify for these handouts.
Edward Fransen 1 year ago
Kathleen, I don't know where you were raised and by whom, however, please step off the hay bail and load your brain before you shoot your mouth off. Just as in any form of business or political office there are those who rape the system and get much more than they ever deserved or worked for. Now that I have that out of the way, 99% of the farmers in this country are not nor have they ever lost their dignity for the almighty dollar. You young lady are way off base. Come out and walk in the shoes of just some of these farmers who work non stop, not just 8 hrs a day or like politicians 100 days a year. Shame on you for your loose lip statement that you posted above. If there is any agency in this country or business that is raping the public and taking advantage of Free, it is the politicians. When we rid ourselves of that cancer , vote them out and replace them with hard working people who will do things for the country before themselves, then we will see things change . You are Unchristian. How dare you. Ask God for forgiveness for the meal you eat everyday comes from one of those Welfare Farmers business.
J.P. 1 year ago
The FSA DOES NOT offer crop insurance!!! It certify's who owns/rents the land. The insurance is through a company kind of like State Farm. So... why do I need a middle man like the FSA??? Is this a waste of 3 Billion?
Kathleen 1 year ago
How much does Val Dolcini get paid and how many hours a week does he work?
Kathleen 1 year ago
What other business has a taxpayer agency working for them to get them the most taxpayer money. The cost of these programs to the taxpayer who does go to a job everyday that they might hate and supports farmers is shameful. What other business receives direct payments just for owning their place of business. Farmers are businesspeople and if they aren't successful on their own they shouldn't be farming, like any other business. They have become entitlement whores. It is Farmer Welfare and when they receive money for things like conservation and crop insurance which we pay 70% of and don't pay sales tax on equip they should be ashamed. Somebody is taking up that slack. As for Farm Service I'm sure they love to make their visit to you so you can show them more ways to get "free" money. Its a racket. Farmers have lost their dignity to the almighty dollar. Unchristian! Anthing for a buck.
Edward Frederick 3 years ago
i think it's pretty disgusting when our government cancels the drought for newton and boon and all of arkansas for that matter, when we only received a couple of rain drops. i know that i was feeding hay back in june, and for a begging farmer that makes impossible to make my yearly fsa payment. i really think you all should reconceder, and make it right for these new farmers. ...
Chuck Johnson 5 years ago
There seems very little that a farmer for 38 years facing foreclosure can expect from OUR government. Does anyone know where reason resides and the paperwork maze dies ??? Thank You

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Founded: 1996
Annual Budget: $3.021 billion (FY 2013 Request); $4.7 billion in farm loan and grant programs (FY 2013 Proposal)
Employees: 4,494 federal; 8,197 non-federal (2013 Proposed)
Official Website: http://www.fsa.usda.gov
Farm Service Agency
Garcia, Juan
Administrator

Juan Garcia was selected to serve as Administrator for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) on July 15, 2012. An agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, FSA provides services to farm operations including loans, commodity price supports, conservation payments, and disaster assistance. Garcia had served as FSA deputy administrator for Farm Programs since May 2011, managing all programs under the divisions of Production Emergencies and Compliance, Conservation and Environmental Programs, and Price Support.

 

A native of Lyford, Texas, Garcia was born circa 1954 and grew up on his family’s 500-acre cotton, grain sorghum, and livestock farm, which has been in his family since 1860. Garcia earned a B.S. in Animal Science at Texas A&I in Kingsville (now Texas A&M University-Kingsville) in 1976.

 

Joining USDA circa 1977, Garcia served early in his career as county executive director for the Texas counties of Nolan, Hidalgo and Cameron, and as district director for the southern and eastern districts of the state. He also worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eventually he worked his way up to be the manager of agricultural programs for Texas and assistant state executive director for FSA. In June 2009 he was named Texas state executive director, having served as acting director since January of that year.

 

Garcia and his wife, Belinda, have three grown children.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Juan Garcia, Administrator, Farm Service Agency (by Brian Resnick, National Journal)

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Nelson, Bruce
Previous Administrator

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA), which provides services to farm operations such as loans, commodity price supports, conservation payments, and disaster assistance, is led by a third generation Montana farmer. Bruce Nelson was selected to serve as FSA’s Acting Administrator in May 2011 and its Administrator two months later.

 
Born May 24, 1951, in Helena, Montana, Nelson was raised on the wheat farm his grandparents had homesteaded. He graduated from Fort Benson High School in 1969 and earned a B.A. in Political Science at the University of Montana in 1973.
 
Starting his career in public service, Nelson served as Bicentennial liaison for the office of Democratic Governor Tom Judge from 1975 to 1976 and as Judge’s administrative assistant from 1976 to 1977. In 1976 he was Montana coordinator for the Frank Church for President campaign. From 1979 to 1980 Nelson served as chief of staff to Congressman Pat Williams (D-Montana). He worked as chairman of the Montana Democratic Party from November 1983 to September 1991.
 
Between 1981 and 1986, Nelson was vice-president of Triangle N Farms, and he then served as its president from 1987 to 1993. He was also a partner in MAX Associates from 1991 to 1993.
 
Nelson was originally appointed to serve as the State Executive Director of the Farm Service Agency in Montana by President Bill Clinton in 1993, and stayed until the end of the Clinton administration in 2000. Returning to the private sector, Nelson worked as development project manager for Zoot Enterprises, a “credit decisioning and loan origination” company in Bozeman, from 2001 to 2004.
 
He then served as Governor Brian Schweitzer’s chief of staff from 2005 to 2009. In June 2009, Nelson was appointed by the Obama administration to again serve as state executive director of FSA in Montana.
 
Nelson and his wife, Nancy, have two sons and a daughter. A lifelong Democrat, Nelson has contributed $10,745 to Democratic candidates and causes since 1990, including $2,000 each to the Montana Democratic Party and to Governor Brian Schweitzer, and $1,000 to Barack Obama and to Montana’s Democratic Senators, Max Baucus and Jon Tester.
 
 
 
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