Basin Farmers Upset Over Farm Service Agency Offices Shutting Their Doors

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- Texas farmers haven't had it easy lately. The drought has devastated their land, forcing many of them out of business. Now, they're being hit with a new problem. Farmers and ranchers are losing some of the government offices they rely heavily upon for help.

Jody Shumann is a Midland rancher and farmer who has seen his fair share of ups and downs in the 36 years he's worked in the fields. Lately, it's been more downs.

He and farmers across the state have suffered the blow of the devastating drought. Now, he's losing the Farm Service Agency office he regularly goes to for his government aid.

"Nobody here is happy about it. The people here aren't happy," Shumann said.

The USDA released a notice on Wednesday reporting the closure of 125 FSA offices nationwide. 15 of the offices are in Texas and two are in the Permian Basin. The offices in Midland and Andrews are shutting their doors. The Midland office is fairly close to the Stanton office, so officials say it needs to close down to cut costs. The Andrews office lacks staffing so it's closing up, too.

"It's going to be a royal pain in the rear to have to go to Odessa," Shumann said.

However, the Odessa office is currently unstaffed. The state tells NewsWest 9, they're hoping to fix that.

James Douglass with the Texas Farm Service Agency says, "I can't tell you definitively when or who might be moved to that location but the plan is to staff the Odessa location on a full time basis with at least one employee."

The state says it's been a rough year for them. Congress has slashed their budget, forcing them to lay off several employees.

Schumann says he'll just have to roll with the punches.

"I'm almost 60 years-old. I don't know anything else. Maybe I could come to Channel 9 and go to work?"