Farmers and ranchers across the Ark-La-Tex will have to go the extra mile, or miles-- for government assistance. The United States Department of Agriculture is consolidating 125 Farm Service Agency offices.
FSA officials say the closures come on the heels of recent budget cuts. It had to reduce expenses by over 30-percent in the last year alone. But, they say even after the consolidations there will still be more than 2,000 offices nationwide.
"When they put the offices into place it served a purpose to have that many offices, but not anymore," said Robert Schmidt, a Marion County, Texas rancher and former USDA Advisor. "Now, it's not a big deal to get into your car and drive to Marshall or drive to Mt. Pleasant. They still have the same services, they just don't have as many offices."
In Texas, 15 offices will close, including Cass-Marion and Shelby. Four will shut down in Louisiana, including the Bossier office. For a complete list of the consolidation, click here.