What is the Farm Service Agency?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2019
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The United States government maintains many different federal programs to help maintain various business sectors. The Farm Service Agency is one such program. It exists to ensure that all agricultural workers, ranchers, and farmers are able to keep their business both economically and environmentally stable.

An arm of the United States Department of Agriculture, the Farm Service Agency administers to several different agricultural worker needs. Farmers who require financial assistance can seek it through the FSA. As they typically have insufficient credit, beginner farmers in particular may seek loans through the agency. For this reason, they may be eligible for guaranteed farm ownership loans.

Experienced farmers who have had losses due to limited resources, natural disasters, or other setbacks may also qualify for assistance. These farmers may apply for operating loans from the FSA. Both types of loans can be used to purchase nearly anything farmers require, from building materials and farm improvements to feed, land, equipment, livestock, and general supplies.

Since it's a USDA agency, the Farm Service Agency continually deals with the quality of food, farming, and general agricultural products within the United States. Part of its mission is to secure enough food to feed all Americans while maintaining environmental sustainability. Ensuring safe crops that are affordable to consumers is another one of the FSA's roles.


Several different emergency support programs are available through the Farm Service Agency. The Livestock Forage Disaster Program ensures financial aid for farmers who, due to natural disasters such as fire or drought, have lost grazing land. The Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program gives financial support for loss of crops due to a general natural disaster, while the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program assists farmers who have lost any of these types of resources.

A Tree Assistance Program is available to farmers who have lost orchard land, trees, or vines to fires or other natural disasters. The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program exists for farmers who are unable to insure their crops otherwise. For farmers whose livestock died during a disaster, the Livestock Indemnity Program can be utilized. For physical losses attributed to quarantine or natural disasters, farmers my acquire an Emergency Farm Loan, while emergency assistance in funds and technological support can be obtained through the Emergency Conservation Program.

Farm Service Agency operations are overseen by the United States Secretary of Agriculture. The administrative department of the agency itself is located in Washington, D.C. While thousands of field offices across the country manage their own local policies and procedures, the entire agency's statistical work is executed in Kansas City, Missouri.


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