Today’s Topic: Proposed reorganization of NASS could harm N.C.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

Southern Farm Network logoThe N.C. Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service will be closed if a proposal recently approved by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack becomes reality.

The plan calls for USDA to consolidate all the NASS field offices across the country into nine regional offices. Once it goes into effect, North Carolina will be serviced by an office in Lexington, Ky.

The relationship between NASS and the NCDA&CS dates back to 1919. We operate under a cooperative agreement, and each year the state contributes directly to the service’s mission through salaries, supplies and office space. Because of this close relationship with the field office, the NCDA&CS has been able to provide reliable and essential information to North Carolina’s agricultural community.

In addition to publishing the annual Agricultural Statistics Yearbook and regular crop and farm reports, the field office also produces several special surveys, such as the annual report on agricultural water use. These surveys produce quality data that are beneficial to North Carolina and its agricultural community.

Commissioner Troxler says consolidation will significantly alter the beneficial information and service North Carolina’s agricultural community receives. A reduction of staff and resources will ultimately lead to a decline in the quality of data collected, a decrease in the ability to help industry partners, and the loss of support and cooperation from North Carolina’s farmers. County statistics will also be lost because only state data will be collected from the regional offices. Without this data, Troxler says, the department won’t be able to assist in the assessment and measurement of the impact of natural disasters on crop production.

Click below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss this proposal and how the Commissioner is trying to change the outcome.

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