September 4 2014
This afternoon I had the opportunity to be a part of a conference call held by Greg Diephouse, DAFO and Juan Garcia, FSA Administrator with other Association representatives about priority Farm Bill activities, the Workload Model, and Service Center Structure Concept (SCS). Greg discussed the progress on livestock disaster programs. At this time, FSA is doing an extraordinary job administrating the livestock disaster programs and $2.5 billion has been paid nationwide, so far. Sequestration will effect LFP payments made after October 1st with a 7.3% reduction. Producers need to contact their local FSA offices to make an appointment or be put on a Register list before October 1st in order to avoid sequestration reductions. Some other topics Greg briefly touched upon were the Dairy Tool is now online and open for sign-up; CTAP is being administered; ARC/PLC will be implemented soon and updating base acres and yields will be the first stage; NAP will be out later this fall; and FLP loan activity is increased. Greg also mentioned Receipt for Service provisions will be coming out possibly yet in September. Greg then discussed hiring and staffing ceilings. All states received their 2014 staff ceilings this summer. States are beginning to hire, but this has been a slow process. eRecruit is a new tool being used for hiring. The National Office is monitoring this closely and will be increasing the capacity of HR staff to improve the hiring process. The Workload Model is still in process and the National Office plans to provide the Associations with more documents and details by the end of the week discussing 'what it is' and 'how it will work.'
Juan's last day with FSA will be tomorrow and he noted it has been a pleasure to work with all the Associations. Today, Juan discussed the FSA Service Center Structure Concept. The Central, Branch, Satellite (CBS) concept has now been renamed to Service Center Structure (SCS). The intention of this concept is to provide better resources to employees, better customer service to our producers, savings to reinvest in training and technology, and job security. Cross-training of employees will also occur. Juan also mentioned supervisors will be better utilized, but reiterated this is not a plan to reduce CEDs or FLMs. This concept will also develop opportunities for employees to specialize. Juan also stated this will have a low impact on employees and maximize COC and State Committees authorities. CED and FLM supervisory roles will not change either. The concept will still consist of three office types, as described in the table below.
Type 1 Office
Full service with FP & FLP
Minimum of 5 permanent employees (GS & CO)
Must have a CED and one employee with loan approval authority
Type 2 Office
Basic delivery of FSA programs
Minimum of 3 permanent employees
Type 3 Office
Basic services available
Maximum of 2 employees in full-time office & no permanent staff in part-time office
Full-time or Part-time office hours
Juan noted all Associations comments were reviewed and considered while developing the SCS concept. Greg Diephouse and the new incoming FSA Administrator, Val Dolcini, will be making the final decision on the SCS concept before it is implemented.
After the concept is finalized by the National Office, SEDs will make the final determinations on how to implement the number of Office Types in their state. State Associations will need to work with their SEDs when this concept is brought forward for implementation.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the NACS Board.
Lisa A. Liska
NACS Vice President
LeAnn is a Farm Loan Chief from New Mexico. She was elected NACS President at the June 2019 Convention.