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County wants farm office open

    PENN YAN–Yates County is working to keep the Farm Services Agency (FSA) office in Penn Yan open.
During the county legislature’s special meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 7, a resolution was passed requesting the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) not close the office in Penn Yan.
    The passing of the resolution comes after the USDA announced on Jan. 9 they were planning to close the Penn Yan office to cut costs. The USDA still has not said when they would close the office. However, if the Penn Yan office closes, it would be consolidated with farm services headquarters in either Canandaigua or Bath. The USDA is also planning to close 131 farm service offices in 32 states. In N.Y. State, other planned closures include Albany, Saratoga and Sullivan Counties.
    Legislature Chair H. Taylor Fitch said the purpose of the resolution is to make the USDA, along with local and state lawmakers aware “that we need to keep our farm services open.” Fitch explained he was present when the FSA State Office Management Team held a public meeting in Penn Yan on Jan. 31 to hear opinions from Yates County farmers on the potential closing. Fitch said that while he understands certain programs need to be cut to save money, hearing concerns about the closure from many farmers in attendance showed the importance of keeping the office open. He also stressed the importance of being mindful of the aggravation extra traveling would cause for Mennonite farmers in the county. “The more I listened to concerns from farmers, I did not see any reason to justify closing the office,” said Fitch.
    Fitch did mention that closing the FSA office in Penn Yan would save around $25,000 per year. However, the costs for traveling to Canandaigua or Bath would exceed the amount being saved from consolidation.
    In other business:
    • The legislature passed a resolution approving the sheriff to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of a correction officer on Jan. 21. Daniel Banach noted he supported the resolution because the resignation was not anticipated.
    • The legislature also approved the sheriff to fill a correction sergeant position that was vacated due to a retirement on Jan. 28 and to fill the vacated correction officer position on a temporary basis until Jul. 1.




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