Definitions

service agency

Farm Service Agency

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is the USDA agency into which were merged several predecessor agencies, including the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS). The ASCS was, as the FSA is now, primarily tasked with the implementation of farm conservation and regulation laws around the country. The Director of FSA reports to United States Secretary of Agriculture. The FSA (ASCS) of each state is led by a State Executive Director (SED).

FSA was set up when the Department was reorganized in 1994, incorporating programs from several agencies, including the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (now a separate Risk Management Agency), and the Farmers Home Administration. Although its name has changed over the years, the Agency's relationship with farmers goes back to the 1930s.

At that time, Congress set up a unique system under which Federal farm programs are administered locally. Farmers who are eligible to participate in these programs elect a three- to five-person county committee, which reviews county office operations and makes decisions on how to apply the programs. This grassroots approach gives farmers a much-needed say in how Federal actions affect their communities and their individual operations. After more than 60 years, it remains a cornerstone of FSA's efforts to preserve and promote American agriculture.

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