Ensuring Access to Services for Missouri Farmers is Focus of McCaskill Inquiry

Senator pushes agency leaders for answers on staffing levels in Missouri in the face of trade war, drought aftermath

WASHINGTON – Continuing her advocacy for Missouri’s farmers and agriculture producers, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill called on the Trump Administration to provide answers regarding insufficient staffing levels at U.S. Department of Agriculture offices across Missouri.

“Failure to hire and retain full time staff during these hard times puts producers and our natural resources at risk,” wrote McCaskill to the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Acting Chief Leonard Jordan. “Missouri producers deserve reliable access to USDA employees and their technical expertise.”

In a similar letter to Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce, McCaskill wrote, “My office has received anecdotal information raising concerns about staffing levels at Missouri FSA offices that have the potential to undermine delivery of FSA’s services to Missouri farmers and ranchers.”

Farmers and producers in Missouri rely on Department of Agriculture resources to assist in navigating federal programs and receiving technical assistance. Access to these resources is especially important as Missouri farmers and ranchers face the ongoing trade war and work to recover from the drought this summer.   

McCaskill has been a strong advocate on behalf of Missouri farmers and ranchers in the face of the ongoing trade war. Last month, McCaskill sent a letter to the Secretary of Commerce to relay the concerns of Missouri manufacturing and agriculture leaders raised during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee roundtable that she chaired in St. Louis. McCaskill recently said of the latest $200 billion in tariffs, “This trade war has already cost Missouri jobs and hurt our farmers and ranchers—I don’t understand why we’d dramatically escalate it.”

McCaskill has consistently fought to ensure Missouri's farmers and ranchers have the resources they need to succeed. McCaskill also voted in support of the Senate’s bipartisan Farm Bill and launched a drought resource page to aid Missouri’s farmers and ranchers affected by intense drought conditions this summer. McCaskill also worked with fellow Missouri Senator Roy Blunt to request drought assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to release additional acreage for haying and grazing.

Full text of McCaskill’s letter to the Natural Resource Conservation Service HERE, and to the Farm Service Agency HERE.

Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/rural to learn more about McCaskill's fight to protect rural Missouri.