The USDA NRCS & FSA have long since been sister agencies. Traditionally FSA has been the financial assistance provider and NRCS has been the technical assistance provider. In the last 10 years, the nature of these agencies has changed somewhat with the majority of change being that NRCS has become a significant provider of financial assistance to farm producers in addition to technical assistance. It would be inthe governments interest to consolidate these agencies due to current budget restrictions and program demands. NRCS is not adequately staffed to sustain the level of technical assistance needed in addition to processing contracts and payments. Combining these agencies can streamline the process and reduce the need for duplication of SES level managers and data management. In addition, FSA is managed from the state level up by political appointees which creates an enormous amount of inconsistent management across the country. NRCS currently has carrer employees all the way to the Chief of the agency even though he is politically appointed. The current structure of NRCS has provided more consistent leadership and direction for the field level employees who conduct the day to day business with the public. Consolidating these two agencies would improve their budgets and improve service to the public.
Idea No. 2297