The Morgan County Farm Service Agency is being consolidated with the Monroe County office in Bloomington. The move is part of an effort by the USDA to make up for $3 billion Congress has cut from the department’s budget since 2010.
Morgan County Farm Bureau President Jerry Hodges says many farmers in the area are disappointed in the USDA’s decision.
“We had many things that we presented to them factually that we thought would support our efforts that would keep this office from closing, but we felt like it was in vain,” Hodges says.
USDA State Executive Director Julia Wickard says her department is advising people to move their files to the Bloomington office, but farmers can request their information be sent to another county office if it’s closer to their land.
“We’re also getting into more of an age of modernization of our IT equipment so producers may have more of an opportunity to do more of their work online as we look at these next few years,” she says.
Wickard says that should cut back on the time farmers have to spend driving to the farm service agency office.
The Morgan County Office is beginning the consolidation process immediately. Its doors will likely close by September. Two other offices in Crown Point and South Bend will also be shuttered as part of plan.