The NACS board recently held our spring board meeting. We normally complete this planning session while we are in DC meeting with the National Office, however, that trip has been postponed this year. We anticipate meeting with management once the new Administrator and other political appointments have been made. NACS concurred with this decision to wait, and we look forward to meeting with the new appointees. We all have read and heard the same information; the Secretary of Agriculture is scheduled to be confirmed on Monday, April 24th. The Agency appointments will then begin and we look forward to meeting with the new team soon.
Our board meeting was productive. We laid out specific goals and planned for convention. The committee structure will change somewhat after the upcoming convention. The new committee surveys will be posted to the web site prior to convention. We are currently looking for professional assistance with our web site. Our member rely heavily on the site to get information and we decided to direct more resources to modernizing and maintaining www.nacs-fsa.org. We expect to make progress in this area soon.
The NACS work on the funding mechanism that was placed into the continuing resolution proved very valuable as noted in the Agency's most recent newsletter. This was the first time that our loan funds were front loaded to allow us to process the amount of loans we have without a full budget. Without action and the help of our partner organizations, we would have run out of loan funds long ago. The fight is not over. We face the possibility of another lapse in funding the end of this week depending on when the next CR is approved. Much is unknown, but we certainly hope that any lapse in government and FSA loan funding is short lived.
The full legislative committee is preparing for a trip to DC in May. They will be providing a report to our members upon return. I get frequent questions regarding the human capital plan for the Agency now that the Government-wide hiring freeze is lifted. This will be among the topics discussed with Congressional representatives during the upcoming trip. We appreciate the work and effort put forth by our legislative team and we look forward to their perspective after meeting with Congress.
Many of us have read about the initial budget proposals and the desire to reduce the size of our Government. NACS has offered to assist the Agency in developing plans for FLP delivery as we look to the future. Time is relatively short for the initial submission and we expect this to be a priority for the new Secretary. We will continue to offer assistance and make sure your interests are considered. I have not always had the answers you wanted, but please continue to contact me or any of the board with your questions and concerns. We do listen and strive to represent every State and every member!
John W. Gehrke
Each of us should have received a link to a survey called FSA Business Applications Satisfaction Survey. The point of this message is to encourage all employees to complete this survey. As an employee Association, we spend a considerable amount of time and energy on IT issues. This is a sincere effort by FSA management to solicit feedback from the field on the functionality of our software systems.
I know many of us tend to roll our eyes and think "here we go again". Let's put forth the effort and aim for 100% completion. There is a direct link between this survey and the IT Steering Committee (ITSC). The main purpose of the ITSC is setting priorities for improvements and enhancements as we move forward. We all know that information technology systems are vital to the work we do in the field. Kim Eilerman, FLM in Illinois, is the NACS representative to this steering committee. NACS also has several other members as part of this group. This survey allows all of us the chance to be directly involved in the process to improve our systems. Let's take advantage of this opportunity! Thank you to those that have already completed the survey. For those that have not, we have until this Friday.
NACS will continue to share your concerns and monitor the progress made as a result of this survey. I know this is a very busy time of year for FLP. Thank you for the work you do and the way you do it.
LeAnn is a Farm Loan Chief from New Mexico. She was elected NACS President at the June 2019 Convention.