City may lose farm service office
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Morgan County could be one of 15 Alabama counties to lose its Farm Service Agency office as part of a consolidation move initiated recently by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
If that happens some 3,000 local farm owners would be required to travel to the nearest FSA office in another county to process paperwork for crop subsidy payments and other FSA programs. It would also take away rental income from the Morgan County Commission on a four-year-old farm services center on Highway 36, west of Hartselle, as well as have a negative impact on the county's economy.
FSA director Susan Terry said she informed Morgan County commissioners of her office's possible closure at their last regular meeting Oct. 3.
"The governing body agreed that the office should remain open and approved a resolution to that effect." she pointed out.
Morgan County was put on the prospective consolidation list along with 27 other counties after the state FSA director conducted an evaluation of all FSA offices at the request of USDA. Criteria used in the evaluation included the number of farmers and/or landowners being served and the distance between FSA offices from one county to the next, according to Terry.
She said her office, which has two full-time and one temporary employee, should know soon it is one of the 15 to be closed.
"My guess is if that happens, we would be consolidated with either the FSA office in Lawrence or Cullman County and the target date for the change would be nine months."