"Improving the Effectiveness of Providing Support to Farmers
The Department's Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers farm programs and services through one of the Federal Government’s largest and most decentralized field office structures. This arrangement, which remains largely unchanged today, dates back to the 1930s when communication and transportation systems were limited by geographic boundaries. FSA currently has 2,351 county offices across the country, of which nearly 500 are within 20 miles of the next nearest office. Over 1,000 of these offices are staffed by three or fewer employees.
This outdated office structure is inefficient and must be streamlined to realign benefits and services with a rural America that has changed dramatically since the early part of the 20th Century. Today, the number of farmers has declined sharply and computers, modern telecommunications and transportation systems have increased farmers’ access to information and assistance without ever visiting a USDA field office.
To streamline operations, FSA must consolidate offices and invest in information technology tools to improve business operations and service delivery to farmers. Before investment in modern information technology is made, the agency will work with stakeholders to close and consolidate offices, where appropriate, and ensure that future investments are made prudently and in a manner that ensures taxpayers’ dollars are spent wisely. The Budget fully funds the agency’s staffing needs while targeting these resources to the agency’s more efficient offices, and includes funding to modernize FSA’s outdated computer systems."
The background is that the administration floated a proposal to close field offices last year which very quickly got shot down. They're now promising to work with Congress on the issue.