The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is an organization with a legacy of responding quickly to program legislation, being service-oriented, and focusing on producer needs. Shrinking Federal budgets, and downsizing, have eroded the ability of FSA employees to maintain the one-on-one relationship with producers that existed throughout the years. Producers, and other people with agricultural interests, have come to expect the personal touch that is often included with the delivery of FSA programs.
Several key priorities have been identified that are intended to transform FSA's present program development and implementation approach into an approach that will continue to meet the expectations of our producers and other customers. These priorities fall into four broad categories:
- Optimize the organization for high performance
- Accelerate program collaboration and infrastructure improvements
- Improve program efficiency and effectiveness
- Outreach and civil rights
Specific action items have been identified for each initiative. The action items represent priorities for keeping pace with changes and meeting the needs of our customers.
Price Support Division Priorities
The Price Support Division (PSD) had developed the following priorities that were completed during the 1998 calendar year:
- Develop a training module for basic loan provisions.
- Use State and county staff to assist in combining and revising major commodity loan program handbooks.
- Develop a training module for loan deficiency payments
- Develop software to compare posted county prices at the time of loan disbursement and loan settlement (liquidation) to determine the extent to which revenue received at loan settlement (liquidation) exceeds prices at harvest.
Scope of PSD Priorities
The PSD priorities affect commodity programs for wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, rice and cotton (Upland and ELS). Affected PSD activities include, but are not limited to, loan making, LDP's, loan servicing and compliance with commodity loan program provisions. Supporting activities and other affected items include, handbooks, notices, regulations, decision memorandums, accounting, automation, training, and dissemination of commodity loan program information.
PSD e-LDP Initiative:
With the era of Internet-based USDA services just beginning, PSD has been leading the development of an e-LDP system that will:
- respond timely to Congressional e-file and e-commerce mandates
- be USDA's first Internet-based payment process, and pro-actively lead FSA customers into the emerging age of e-business
- give eligible producers (users) quick, efficient access to program funds
- function in addition to commodity loan/LDP delivery through FSA County Offices and approved Cooperative Marketing Associations
- be Beta tested in selected Counties nationwide
- be enhanced over time to cover other LDP eligible commodities, and then other price support services.
- process through a KCC-based Web Farm DB2 platform
- be limited in scope in the Beta test environment
- interface with Service Center Information Management System (SCIMS)
- be approved for payment by Accounting certifying officers
- be Section 508 (handicapped persons) compliant when fully functional
- involve processing site access through emerging eGovernment (eGov) common web-enabling technologies
- involve users' Administrative County Office (COF) enabling functions
- involve PC processing applications
- involve Accounting applications
- involve TD approved and facilitated transmission of e-LDP data from the e-LDP Web Farm DB2 platform to applicable COF's.
On April 11, 2002, PSD provided hands-on training to 21 Beta test State and County office personnel on e-LDP processing in preparation for an upcoming Beta test.