As 2013 comes to a close, I thought it only fitting to look back on the year that was and take this opportunity to highlight some of the Farm Service Agency’s accomplishments in support of Pennsylvania agriculture and rural communities across the commonwealth during fiscal year 2013.
The economic impact of FSA farm program payments throughout Pennsylvania for fiscal year 2013, which ran from Oct. 1, 2012, through Sept. 30, 2013, totaled an impressive $85.6 million in federal program payments and more than $63.2 million in direct and guaranteed operating loans to farmers and producers across the commonwealth.
From conservation to disaster assistance and farm loans that provide financing for producers to start or expand their farm operations, FSA programs offer a vital safety net to farmers and ranchers while ensuring an abundant, safe and affordable food supply for the nation.
Individual program highlights embedded within those totals include $23.7 million in conservation program payments, $24.7 million in disaster assistance program payments, and $36.9 million in commodity program payments.
Such accomplishments reflect a demonstrated commitment on the part of FSA county office staff to the farmers and producers of Pennsylvania and, more importantly, the critical role for FSA in delivering economic assistance to Pennsylvania’s rural communities.
In addition to more than $148.8 million in economic assistance delivered to Pennsylvania agriculture, 2013 also saw the launch of initiatives intended to enhance communications with our customer base.
Dovetailing with previous agency efforts dedicated to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of FSA program delivery, the Pennsylvania FSA now offers an electronic news service regarding program eligibility requirements, deadlines and other related information.
Free and convenient, FSA’s GovDelivery allows FSA county offices throughout the state to provide timely, accurate and up-to-the-minute federal farm program information direct to farmers’ email accounts or smartphones.
Sign-up is easy — simply navigate to www.fsa.usda.gov/subscribe to begin an electronic news subscription. Individuals can establish their subscription preferences by topic, state or county.
With the start of the 2014 growing season just around the corner, the Pennsylvania FSA stands ready to continue our proud history of providing economic development and assistance to the farmers and ranchers of Pennsylvania.
With an agency mission of equitably serving all farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans, the Pennsylvania FSA remains committed to Pennsylvania agriculture and the rural communities it supports.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season, we look forward to the opportunity to serve Pennsylvania agriculture once again in 2014.
Bill Wehry is the executive director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Pennsylvania.