A dozen Republican House members are pushing the Farm Service Agency to fully reopen its local offices, saying that “countless farmers in our districts have reached out concerned about staffing shortages” in those offices.
“As our farmers progress through the planting season and into the harvesting season in the fall, it is important that the FSA office is adequately staffed. The direct interaction that many of our farmers have in these offices cannot be substituted with only emails and phone calls,” they said in a letter to the agency.
“We are encouraged that local FSA offices are allowing visitors back into the office and 75 percent of staff are working in the office. However, we are still hearing from farmers that there are shortages in various offices. The FSA offices exist to serve in the communities where they are located. It is hard to accomplish that goal when staffing levels in these offices remain low,” they wrote.
They asked for information including when the agency expects to fully reopen the offices, hiring and onboarding practices, the results of a study on staffing needs, and more.
The letter is the latest of many from GOP members on Capitol Hill urging that more employees be recalled to onsite work, although most of them dated to before the recent upsurge in Coronavirus infections.