WARREN, Maine — The Maine Farm Service Agency office that served Knox and Lincoln counties closed Tuesday as part of a nationwide cost-cutting effort.
Programs for farmers in Knox and Lincoln counties will be transferred to the Augusta office unless the individual farmers ask that their records be sent to another office such as Belfast or Lewiston, said Donovan Todd III, Maine executive director.
The Kennebec County office is at 21 Enterprise Drive in Augusta and the phone number is 622-7847.
“Over the past three years, FSA has faced a variety of budget-related challenges,” stated Bruce Nelson, administrator of the Farm Service Agency, in a news release issued by the department. “Through a targeted office consolidation effort that includes 125 offices nationwide, FSA is striving to balance significant budget cuts, staff reductions and increasing workloads while focusing the efforts of our staff on high-quality service.”
There are 2,119 Farm Service offices remaining in the United States.
A public hearing was held earlier this year to gather comments from local farmers about the possible closure of the office in Warren. The announcement of the closure was made in February.
About 220 farmers were being served by the Knox/Lincoln office, Todd said. The agency offers farmers financial assistance programs such as direct and guaranteed loans, cost sharing for conservation practices, disaster relief, crop insurance and price support.
He said farmers can visit a Farm Service Agency office or ask officials to visit their farms.