BUFFALO, Mo. — Farmers and ranchers in one Ozarks county say they could be losing a key piece of the agriculture puzzle.
The FSA is underneath the United States Department of Agriculture, which is considering closing 259 domestic offices, more than half of which are FSA offices and three of which are in Missouri.
The move is purely financial, estimated to save $150 million. Some local producers aren't buying that.
Jack Dill has a way with animals.
"I always tease that I'm a cow whisperer because I can make a cow do about anything; it's amazing," Dill tells us.
But in this case he'll need to be a people whisperer; Dill's got minds to change.
"Oh I think there's a chance because the reasoning for doing it is just ludicrous."
Dill is adamantly against closing Dallas County's Buffalo-based Farm Service Agency office. A third generation farmer, Dill knows first-hand the office is heavily utilized.
"Dallas County's FSA office, we were so busy in 2007 because of emergencies. When there are emergencies and there's government money coming in to be spread out for losses, it was actually amazing how many people use that assistance," Dill explains.
If the Buffalo office in Dallas County closes, customers will be able to get services at any of the surrounding counties. They can go as far away as two counties.
"We're right at the corner of Dallas County and we live 36 miles from Bolivar."
Dill says lots of local producers won't make that- or any lengthy- drive.
"A lot of the information we have is egov, which is information that can be achieved online from their home. We are getting more and more programs in a situation that let's say, producers can take a commodity loan from their home, their home computer," explains Jasper Grant with FSA's Missouri headquarters in Columbia.
Dill says that's not likely either.
"Dallas County has a lot of elderly farmers who are not very computer literate and FSA obviously wants to get people doing more stuff online and a lot of them can't do that."
Dill's only hope is to work some of his magic on the people who matter.
Ultimately that's the US Secretary of Agriculture.
There will be public meetings on each of the proposed closures by the end of this month, and the ag secretary will have 90 days to make a decision.
Dallas County's forum will be held at 7 p.m., Janauary 30th, at the O'Bannon Community Building in Buffalo.
The closings were slated as a possibilty in the 2008 farm bill, and the offices were chosen by location. Any office within 20 air miles of another office with two or fewer employees is on the chopping block.
Dallas County has just one worker.