Rep. Barletta asks Farm Service Agency to keep local offices open

Feb 3, 2012
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, sent a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture asking that two local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices remain open.

The letter, co-signed by Rep. Tom Marino, PA-10, calls on FSA Administrator Bruce Nelson to keep open agency offices in Lehighton, Carbon County, and Tunkhannock, Wyoming County.

“Farm Service Agency offices provide valuable information for the farmers in their areas, so closing these two local offices will affect our agricultural community. I hope the FSA agrees that the offices in Lehighton and Tunkhannock are too important to close for farmers in several Northeastern Pennsylvania counties,” Rep. Barletta said.

The letter reads, in part: “We worry about what impact the closing of these agencies might have on the ability of our constituents – particularly older farmers – to access the federal resources these agencies provide. Our constituents might be unable or unwilling to take the time and incur the expenses associated with traveling to the FSA offices that will remain open.  Pennsylvanians most in need of these critical programs might never access them – or even know about them – due to the increased distance-related inconvenience caused by the closing of these two offices.”

Rep. Barletta also noted that local FSA offices helped farmers affected by historic flooding in late summer apply for disaster relief. Just a few weeks ago, Rep. Barletta announced that farmers in the 11th District were able to access almost $2 million in emergency funds allocated through the FSA to Pennsylvania.

The letter reads: “We believe the local FSAs played a critical role in helping local farmers understand and apply for funding through the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP). [...] We fear that, without those local offices, local farmers would not be able to access ECP funds in the future.”

The letter was sent on Thursday, February 2.