Both FSA and NRCS are in the process of upgrading their technology and business processes, FSA through the Modernize and Innovate the Delivery of Agricultural Systems (MIDAS) project and NRCS through the Conservation Delivery Streamlining Initiative. Having FSA administer conservation programs would go a long way towards assisting NRCS in reaching its Streamlining Initiative goals of reducing field staff administrative workloads by 80%. It would also enable their field staff to reach the goal of spending 75% of their time in the field providing conservation assistance to farmers and ranchers. NRCS has indicated concern with the administrative burden on field office technical staff from expanded roles for contract development and management. NRCS’s Streamlining Initiative encourages a move to a “natural resource centric view” concentrating on identifying and solving resource problems and moving away from a “financial assistance centric view.”
The NRCS Streamlining Initiative highlighted as one of its top objectives the implementation of programs through alternative staffing and delivery approaches designed around more efficient business processes to minimize the non-technical workload on field staff.
Now is the time to make the IT changes to enhance FSA’s administrative and NRCS’s technical capabilities .For example, FSA and NRCS use different GIS software programs, ArcGIS and Toolkit, respectively. This is not practical. It is extremely inefficient to develop and maintain two USDA systems to administer farm and conservation programs. We can no longer afford these inefficiencies.
The third from the last sentence surprises me. So much for the work of Kevin Wickey.