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VIDEO: Farmers speak out against plan to close Kalamazoo FSA office

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KALAMAZOO (WKZO) - Farmers voiced their say Thursday on a plan to close the Farm Service Agency office in Kalamazoo.

The Kalamazoo FSA office is one of three USDA facilities targeted for closure in Michigan.

Michigan Farm Service Agency executive director Christine White held the meeting at the Oshtemo Township Hall taking all comments and questions from Kalamazoo County area farmers and concerned public. 

The USDA has announced closings of 259 offices nationwide. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the move is part of an agency-wide effort to cut $150 million to balance the Nation's budget.

Vilsack says he expects less opposition from farmers and local lawmakers once they see the total budget numbers.

However, local farmers and legal representatives argue the savings of the closure will be minimal in comparison to the amount of miles residents will need to travel to reach an FSA office. 

White assured farmers they'll still get the services they need, and not to expect widespread layoffs. 

Watch above for opposing viewpoints on the Kalamazoo FSA closure from USDA executive director Christine White, and Attorney Brian Knotek from Schuitmaker, Cooper, Schuitmaker, Cypher & Knotek. 

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