Here's an example: Brownfields does a piece based on an interview with Steve Johnson, an Iowa State extension guy, talking about signup, changes in the programs, SURE and ACRE. He mentions some new forms, which the FSA county office should have in draft.
All fine, all correct. But... And it's a big But.
Under the e-government concept, FSA's forms shop has been posting FSA/CCC forms to the Internet for the last 10 years. One would think by now what Steve Johnson would have said is something like this:
"Farmers are going to have a new set of forms to fill out this year. The CCC-926 covers payment limitation information. The CCC-902 (I) and 902 (E) are also new. Now all three forms are available on FSA's forms site--click on the "forms" link off the FSA main site. You can print off copies to read, or fill them out on line..."
Steve does, in the recorded interview, mention using the Internet to research the SURE and ACRE programs. I'm probably being unfair to Steve but these are the possibilities:
- He doesn't know about the FSA forms site
- He knows about the site, but didn't think to use it
- He knows about the site, but was on vacation for the holidays and didn't check it before the interview
- He knows about the site, knew the forms were on the site, but was confident the Iowa county offices would not have pulled off the forms.
- He knew all of the above, but thought he would be more in tune with his audience if he didn't suggest they should check the FSA site, but instead should talk to the nice people in the county office.
Why? I don't know why. It's a reminder that people and institutions are far more resistant to change than those of us who are seduced by the new like to think.
[PS: I note the government forms site doesn't have the CCC-902 or CCC-926 forms yet, which suggests a problem in the way the site works--ideally an update to the USDA/FSA forms site should automatically update the government one.]