NASCOE Website Furlough/Shutdown Page

A Shutdown Furlough Information page has been created on the NASCOE website. The page is NOT intended to replace agency guidance, but will accumulate information received by NASCOE Leadership regarding the shutdown and furlough. The button can be accessed at

Information that is referenced on this page includes:

  • Link to the Office of Personnel Management website
  • OPM’s Shutdown Furlough Guidance Page
  • FAQs on Emergency Furlough
  • Department of Labor resources on Unemployment Benefits
  • SF-8 Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees form with USDA Information
  • USDA Ops Center Website
  • All NASCOE Communications on Shutdown and Furlough

The page may also be accessed directly at:

The Furlough Information page will be updated throughout the shutdown as NASCOE leadership receives information.  Members are asked to refer any questions to their state association President, who will forward to NASCOE leadership through the Area Executives.

If you haven’t done so already, please follow the NASCOE website by visiting and entering your home email address in the “Follow blog by email” box.  On Facebook, enter @NASCOENews in the search box to find and “Like” the Nascoe News page.

NASCOE News Flash 3/21/2018

NASCOE will be heading to Washington DC the first week of April to conduct our annual negotiation session. The negotiation team has been preparing to present and negotiate the items submitted by membership. For those unfamiliar, suggestions on how to improve efficiency, improve working conditions or improve service to our producers are submitted by membership through the online submission form located on the NASCOE webpage. Those suggestions are vetted and then sent to management for consideration. The negotiations team which is comprised of the officers, the area execs and area negotiation consultants, then meet face to face with management to negotiate the item. To ensure equal representation from the areas, negotiation consultants must be a PT if the area exec is a CED and vice versa. All members are encouraged to participate in the negotiation process by submitting items for review.

NASCOE has received a few questions regarding the comment during the town hall regarding the one to ten ratio for supervisors and employees. This has been the standard touted by OPM for the federal workforce for the past several years. It is important to keep in mind the goal is to average one supervisor for every ten employees across the agency, not that every supervisor must have ten employees. It is very likely you will see this standard used while standing up the business center and in areas of the mission area where possible. NASCOE will continue to monitor this and other areas of concern as we move forward.

In addition to the negotiating with management, NASCOE will also participate in an all association meeting on Wednesday, April 4th. We will have the opportunity to see and visit with leaders from the agency, department and FPAC. This will give us the opportunity to follow up on some of the information that was provided in the recent town hall meeting. An update will be provided to the membership soon after the meetings.

The following is a legislative report from our consultant Hunter Moorhead.

“All – I hope this note finds you well. I want to update NASCOE’s membership on two important legislative initiatives, the omnibus appropriations measure and Farm Bill. The current continuing resolution is set to expire on March 23. We expect the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate will soon wrap-up negotiations and meet the current deadline. This legislation will fund the government through fiscal year 2018. The Congress recently agreed to new spending limitations (caps) that should allow for adequate FSA salaries and expenses funding. We continue to urge Secretary Perdue to make available any additional funds for hiring county office staff. When finalized, we will share information about the final package.

“The other important legislative issue is reauthorization of the 2014 Farm Bill. While I expected the House Agriculture Committee this week to release draft legislative language, our contacts tell us it will likely be the middle of April. A group of Democratic House members have raised concerns with any effort to limit Food Stamp benefits. The other challenge for Chairman Michael Conaway is securing House floor debate time. On the Senate side, the negotiations are slowly moving forward, and any draft bill will follow action by the House of Representatives. We will continue to monitor the Farm Bill process and share any legislative information.”

NASCOE News Flash 2/27/2018

NASCOE knows membership has many questions regarding reorganization of the department and FPAC realignment and we are working to secure answers to those questions. NASCOE is monitoring activities as they occur and engaging in the process when possible. Many of you have seen the FPAC Friday Roundup that indicated all employees would be receiving an update on the FPAC realignment. The leaders of the FPAC agencies (FSA, NRCS & RMA) have been charged with the task of sharing this information at the local level but were not given a specific delivery strategy to do so. Some State Offices have decided to provide the information jointly with sister agencies and others have not. Some are hosting webinars at the state level and others are doing it by district. There isn’t any one way or one agency that is dictating how this information is being shared. The FPAC Friday Roundup also mentioned they are planning a virtual town hall meeting in mid-March and continuing on a periodic basis after that. NASCOE encourages the membership to participate in the town hall meetings as they become available.

Convention and rally season is getting here quickly. Attending a state convention or area rally is an excellent opportunity to meet and interact with senior members of management from the national office, co-workers from across the state or area and NASCOE area executives and officers. The National Office has committed to having two members of senior management at the area rallies and I encourage everyone who can to make reservations and attend. With the many changes and challenges we are currently facing, being able to communicate face to face with National Office management leaders is a unique opportunity to ask questions directly to those involved in the decision-making process.

NASCOE is always seeking opportunities to participate on work groups and task forces established by management and have been provided that chance several times the past few years. For example, NASCOE has had a representative on the Managerial Cost Analysis work group for nearly two years. This group has been working on a workload tool. In addition to the cost analysis part of the tool, a smaller group has been established to start the process of developing a staffing tool. This work group has been holding multiple conference calls weekly and is scheduled to travel to Washington, DC the week of March 12th to continue the work in a face to face setting. Past NASCOE President Wes Daniels is NASCOE’s representative on the work group.

NASCOE was asked to provide names to participate in a Competency Assessment focus group, which is tasked with looking at and establishing the necessary competencies for various grades and positions. Their focus will be to identify the necessary competencies needed to move from a current level of responsibility to a level requiring a higher level of responsibility. Donny Green, a CED from Tennessee and Brenda Moore, a PT from Oklahoma are NASCOE’s representatives on this group.

We have also been asked to provide names to represent field employees on a task force to help write the policies and procedures for the new ad hoc disaster bill announced in the Bipartisan Budget Deal recently passed. The new program will focus on providing relief for producers who grow crops, vines, bushes and trees. NASCOE has provided several names to be considered for final selection on the task force. NASCOE will share those names as they become known.

NASCOE is making every effort to monitor activities as we transition into the new mission area. We will continue to provide as much information as possible going forward. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to your area executive or NASCOE officers.

Dennis Ray
NASCOE President

Federal Appropriations and 2017 Disaster Assistance

NASCOE has a lobbyist and consultant, Hunter Moorhead of Crossroads Strategies who works on behalf of NASCOE membership.  He provided this update on the recent Federal Appropriations and 2017 Disaster Assistance that passed congress.

February 25, 2018
To: NASCOE Membership

From: Hunter Moorhead
Subject: Federal Appropriations and 2017 Disaster Assistance

This memorandum outlines the current appropriations/budget negotiations and the likely pathway forward for both fiscal years 2018 and 2019. In addition, this document outlines the recent passage of disaster assistance for states impacted by last year’s natural disasters. Following the brief government shutdown, Congress quickly reached an agreement to complete the 2018 appropriations process, provide disaster assistance and set spending caps for 2019. We believe this agreement paves the way to fund the government and avoid the uncertainty of budget sequestration and continuing resolutions.

On February 9, the House of Representatives passed the continuing resolution. This legislation extends government operations through March 23 and sets spending limitations that allow the 2018 bills to be finalized and sent to the President for his signature. The negotiations eliminated the budget sequester for two years and increased spending for both defense and non-defense. The final deal also included specific funding for the below policies.

Budget Agreement:





Current law defense cap




Cancel defense sequester



Security priorities



New defense cap








Defense discretionary total




Current law nondefense cap




Cancel nondefense sequester



Domestic priorities



New nondefense cap








Nondefense discretionary total




Spending Agreement:

 National Institutes of Health – $1B for 2018 and $1B for 2019;
 Opioids and Mental Health – $3B for 2018 and $3B for 2019;
 Veterans Administration healthcare backlog – $2B for 2018 and $2B for 2019;  Infrastructure – $10B for 2018 and $10B for 2019;
 Child Care Development Block Grant – $2.9B for 2018 and $2.9B for 2019; and  Higher Education – $2B for 2018 and $2B for 2019.

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees are working now to finalize the fiscal year 2018 spending levels across all government programs. The deadline for completing negotiations is set for March 23. This will allow the Department of Agriculture to operate for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.

The agreement also included disaster assistance for areas impacted by 2017 hurricanes. At this point, the Department of Agriculture is working to determine procedures and sign- up dates.

Disaster Assistance for USDA programs:

The supplemental provides a total of $3.597 billion in disaster funding for programs under the jurisdiction of the agriculture subcommittee. This funding will provide relief for producers, families, and communities in states affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and recent wildfires. The bill also makes changes to existing mandatory disaster programs to accommodate losses resulting from the 2017 drought.

Ad Hoc Agriculture Disaster – $2.36 billion for crop disasters as a result of hurricanes and wildfires. Producers who purchased crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) on eligible crops will be allowed to recoup up to 85 percent of their losses. Producers who did not have crop insurance or NAP on eligible crops will be allowed to recoup up to 65 percent of their losses. Producers receiving payments will be required to purchase crop insurance or NAP policies on eligible commodities for each of the next two years.

Disaster Program Changes – $42 million – Removes the annual statutory cap on the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-Raised Fish Program, currently set at $20 million per year. Amends the Livestock Indemnity Program to cover “sold livestock for a reduced sale price” as cause for an indemnity payment due to natural disaster or drought (only mortality is currently covered), and removes payment limitations currently capped at $125,000. It increases payment acreage for the Tree Assistance Program from 500 acres to 1,000 acres. All changes would be applied to losses incurred on January 1, 2017 or later.

Office of the Inspector General – $2.5 million for Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit and investigative oversight activities related to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Research Programs – $22 million for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to repair damages to 14 ARS-owned facilities and equipment resulting from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Conservation Programs – $941 million – $400 million for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) and $541 million for the Emergency Watershed Program (EWP).

Rural Development – $184.1 million – $18.6 million for Multi-Family Housing Direct Loans for rehabilitation of multifamily housing properties affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Funding is needed to cover properties damaged or destroyed but not covered by existing insurance policies. $165.5 million for the Rural Utilities Services to repair drinking water systems and sewer and solid waste disposal systems affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Within this amount, $2 million is provided for technical assistance.

Nutrition Programs – $38 million – $24 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program to provide an additional 35 million pounds of food for food banks in states affected by hurricanes and wildfires. $14 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to help repair and replace equipment in WIC clinics in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


We are working to secure the highest funding level possible for fiscal year 2018 FSA Salaries and Expenses. Once finalized, we hope the Department of Agriculture will hire new county office employees. County office staff numbers are so low customer service is being negatively impacted. Our NASCOE leadership has meet with various FSA and USDA officials to urge them to hire additional employees.

NASCOE Scholarship Deadline January 1

Please see our current applications for scholarships and awards in the NEA.  I have to think we have more employees than two in the whole area who could benefit from scholarships and I KNOW we have folks deserving of a DSA.  The deadline is January 1.  Please encourage your members to consider applying for a scholarship or nominating a deserving individual for a DSA.  If you have any questions, I know that Annette or I would be happy to help.
Distinguished Service Award for services to NASCOE – 0
Distinguished Service Award for services to FSA/Agriculture – 0
Distinguished Service Award for services to Community – 0
Traditional Scholarship – 2 (NY and MA)
Open Continuing Education Scholarship – 0
Member Continuing Education Scholarship – 0
Continuing Education for Adult Children of Members – 0
Grandchildren Scholarship – 0
Associate member scholarship – 0
Rick Csutoras

NASCOE: Notes from Meeting with Management

The NASCOE President, Vice President and selected NASCOE members traveled to Washington, DC on December 11-13, 2017.  The report (below) is an accounting of the trip and is to be shared with membership.

Periodically the NASCOE President and Vice President travel to Washington, DC to meet with FSA management. December 11th through the 13th marked the first trip for me and newly elected Vice President Brandon Wilson to meet with management. Our first meeting was on Monday afternoon and we had back-to-back appointments scheduled through Wednesday afternoon. In addition to me and Brandon, two NASCOE members from Texas and Minnesota also traveled to DC and spent Tuesday on the Hill with the NASCOE Legislative Consultant visiting with key congressional members about FSA work activities.

Brandon and I met first with the Office of Budget and Finance (OBF) team on Monday afternoon. Most of the discussion centered around the status of the FSA workload tool. The managerial cost analysis (MCA) working group is still having routine conference calls with the members of the work group as they continue to make progress toward a final product. Going forward it is anticipated that focus will shift from determining what items to count and how to count them to taking that data and using it to determine staffing. Currently NASCOE has representation on the work group and will continue to do so in the future.

On Tuesday morning we met with the Director of the Human Resources Division (HRD). HRD has been tasked to prepare for handling a potential surge of onboard hiring requests once FSA has authorization to advertise and hire. They are prepared to streamline where possible which should expedite the process. HRD is also reviewing the hiring process for FSA and NRCS. Now that both agencies are under the FPAC Mission Area they will be looking at best practices to determine how hiring will be handled in the future. A pilot is being planned for the next round of GS hiring that will probably be a hybrid of the two agency models. There is some discussion involving the future of the CO hiring process but that is not expected to have an immediate impact. HRD also discussed the Pathway Intern and Fellowship programs for State Offices and the National Office. They see the Fellowship program as an effective tool to bring the field office perspective into the National Office.

After meeting with HRD we met with Acting Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs (DAFP) and staff members. We discussed a variety of topics that have been raised by membership such as the late file reporting period ending one year after the Acreage Reporting Date, various software work arounds and the nonpayment reports only showing one error message at a time. The biggest barrier to correcting some of these issues is the cost compared to available budgets. There are nearly 1,000 enhancements that need to be applied to software. They are prioritized and ranked according to need. Many of these enhancements are a result of NASCOE members making suggestions through the Programs Committee.

During lunch we met with the CIO. We discussed the issue of CARS not being available on November 15th and much of the 16th. It was discovered the issue wasn’t with CARS itself but rather the authentication process. All available resources were devoted to correcting the problem and expected solutions didn’t immediately work. We were also notified that USDA is expected to lead the way in modernizing IT not only for USDA, but for the federal government. IT is exploring ways in which producers can receive online authentication that would not only allow them access to their program information with USDA, but would also allow access to any federal government agency.

After lunch we met with the Acting Administrator and his assistant. We thanked him for increasing the FY-17 performance based award amounts back to previous levels. We discussed staffing and the fact that the restraint on hiring has made providing customer service a real challenge. The Acting Administrator has been putting a case together on how to justify the need to hire and will be presenting that to the Secretary’s office soon. He is looking at assembling a group to start assessing the workload model’s ability to determine staffing levels. We were also told that there are still a handful of SED’s that have not been named yet and that funding for temporaries and county committees have been issued to states and it is up the state to balance how that is used.

We received a brief update on the Bridges To Opportunity program from the Bridges program manager. Fact sheets and program information for all three agencies of FPAC will be added to the resource libraries in the software. FSA will still be providing information and services through the portal; however, all available information will pertain to all FPAC agencies. Receipt for services will still be included although it is likely that most of the information will be prepopulated, and FSA users will not have to go through the producer selection process in many instances.

Later in the afternoon we met with the acting Administrator of Field Operations (DAFO) and staff members. We thanked DAFO for their role in increasing the FY-17 performance based award amounts. We discussed Notice PM-2993 and the FY-18 performance plans and some concerns that we have with parts of the notice. We had previously submitted some questions and are currently waiting on clarification. We asked about the shared management task force that had been agreed to during a previous negotiation session. With national office retirements and new SED’s just now coming on board this has not been addressed yet. At this time, FSA does not know when the task force will be established. We also asked about the possibility of having non-ceiling COTS as we have in the past to help states maximize their ceilings.

Visits to the National Office by the President and Vice President will be very beneficial in the future as USDA moves forward with reorg. It is important to advance the goals of the association and Brandon and I feel that this visit has allowed NASCOE to be more involved and better positioned to represent membership as we go forward. The working relationships with management have been and will continue to be a high priority for NASCOE.

As we go into this Christmas season it is my wish that each of you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. Please take time to get away from the stress of the office and enjoy time with family and friends. Please travel safely if you are traveling and we look forward to what the new Year will bring.

Respectfully submitted,

Dennis Ray
NASCOE President

Summary of top concerns from NASCOE

It is not news to anyone that we have a lot going on in the agency and federal government in general.  Members have been asking questions and sharing concerns about everything from the USDA Reorg efforts to FSA logos.  Your Exec Committee has been having routine conference calls to ensure that your comments are passed up and that NASCOE is in the best possible position.

We also think it’s important to have routine updates for membership on these issues so that you know that we’re hearing your suggestions and that we’re continuing to work hard on your behalf.  So please see a summary (below) that our President, Dennis Ray, has prepared regarding a few of the biggest issues.  We’ll continue to keep you informed as we go forward.

As usual, please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Thank you!

Rick Csutoras
NACOE NE Area Exec

The executive committee held a conference call this week to discuss workload, reorg and to act on a couple of business matters. Below is a summary of a few of topics discussed.

The current reorg of the Department has naturally generated questions, both about how it might affect us going forward and about what NASCOE is doing to monitor the situation. Currently, NASCOE supports Secretary Perdue’s efforts to reorganize the Department of Agriculture and believes that any reorganization should focus on FSA’s footprint and providing better customer service. The county office footprint is critical to the effective administration of our programs. We believe that the greatest service model in government is the County Committee System and protecting strengthening their local authority remains a high priority. NASCOE continues to work closely with our legislative consultant to monitor activities and to promote our legislative and reorg priorities. These include CRP, acreage reporting, dairy and all commodity programs.

NASCOE membership has expressed the need for a tool to accurately report and assess workload ever since FSA discontinued work measurement and workload reporting. We believe that a valid workload tool is critical to ensure that staffing levels are consistently applied across the country. The Managerial Cost Analysis Working Group (MCA) is currently working to develop and deploy a workload tool. NASCOE has had a representative on the MCA for the past 18 months. Past president Wes Daniels has assumed the duties of representing NASCOE of this working group. A NASCOE priority of the workload tool is that the data is calculated and shared down to the county level. Earlier indications were that it was close to being to a point that data could be shared but that appears to have slowed a little. Wes is participating on routine conference calls that are designed to fine tune and advance the deployment of the workload tool.

NASCOE has spent considerable effort in the past to build strong relationships with the senior management of FSA and that continues to be a focus. With the turnover of the administration and the retirement of several experienced employees in the national office, there is much work to be done in this area. We are fortunate however, that many of the program specialists and career employees that we have dealt with in the past remain and we are able to visit with them as concerns and issues arise. Many have assumed additional duties which has placed a premium on their time, but they try to be as accommodating to our requests as they can.

It is fully expected there will be travel required in the very near future to meet with our legislative consultant, meet with management and key congressional members. This travel will primarily be by the President and Vice President as we negotiate with management on issues and concerns. If needed, there may also be times that NASCOE members might be asked to fly in to meet with key congressional members. This travel has been expected and planned for as we work to maintain NASCOE’s position through the reorg process, build relationships as new appointees come on board, maintain relationships with career employees and continue to participate in the development of the workload tool.

Respectfully Submitted,

Dennis Ray
NASCOE President

2017 NASCOE Convention Report- St. Charles, MO

The NASCOE convention convened with the call to order by President Wes Daniels. There were 6 attendees from Pennsylvania.

Kansas was the only state that made a bid for the 2019 convention.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota will host 2018 convention.

There were 16 attendees from WDC. Each one had a few words for the convention and then there was a Q & A. If you have never attended an Area Rally or a Convention, this is a tremendous honor to NASCOE, to have the leaders from WDC attend the convention and take the time to answer questions (Q&A’s to be distributed at a later date and program questions will be found there).

Chris Breyehelm – Acting Administrator, shared a few items. The biggest part of his message is that all the agencies are vying for their budgets. FSA needs more money in our budget so get our story out there. FSA makes a difference in people’s lives with clean water, air and healthy food to eat. With the hiring freeze, USDA was able to cut 22% of the budget. Recently, the Secretary has approved about 200 people to be hired and 200 more external people will be hired. Congress has marked up the budget from the President’s proposal. They are looking to add more training for leadership and PT counter skill training. He reminded everyone to take the employee survey when it is offered. They are committed to updating the handbooks. He spoke about ARS and how extremely important it is to make sure your activities are accurate. No one should ever be working past scheduled hours unless you are getting comp time or credit hours. Supervisors should be keeping an eye on this. If the time is not recorded there is no way to have accurate workload reports. Length of service will now be receiving a coin with years of service instead of the employees picking a gift. There will be a movement on reaching out to non-operating landowners to see about working with beginning farmers.

John Chott – Acting Deputy Administrator of Field Operations- focus is on customer service. It appears that the money for temps will go into the end of FY; possibly move into the new FY. He spoke about the counter skills training for PT’s. This is an idea from NASCOE. PT’s developed the training. There are approximately 6,000 PT’s that will take the course. It will be up to each State to determine how the training will be delivered to the PT’s. John attended our Area break out session. When he was asked about the workload model, he refused to give any details. It was stated that they are close to having a useable workload report. It was again stated how VERY IMPORTANT, it is that everyone is coding their T&A’s correctly. Common Programs is over used.

Emblems, Awards & Scholarship report –

Money for awards and scholarships does not come out of membership dues. All money is earned through the sales of emblems and the auctions. Emblem sales form August 1, 2016 – July 31, 2017 totaled $ 48,027.00. There are 3 award categories and 6 scholarship categories.

For the awards members need to nominate their co-workers. They would like to see at least one nomination from every state. So, if one of your co-workers fits into one of these categories you should be nominating them. These awards are different from FSA. So nominate those you feel are deserving.

The Scholarship winners were as follows:

Traditional – Claire Eggerman IL

Open Continuing – Ryan Stratton, PA

Member Continuing – Jessica Brough, OH

Grandchildren – Lane Wolfe, MO

Adult Continuing – Monica Coleman, VA

Associate Member – Andi McMillin, TX


The award winners were as follows:

Service to community – John Mark Kinnibrugh, TX

Service to FSA/Agriculture – Steve Abbas, IA

Service to NASCOE – Kay Lumsden, MI

The scholarship auction was held during the convention for Scholarship. An estimated total of $13,000 dollars was raised.

Dillard Financial was present and they did a presentation about retirement. They are available to talk with members about their TSP and retirement options (consultation is free). The newest member to Dillard is Val Dolcini. Please contact them if you thinking about retirement.

Since the election resulted in both houses of Congress and the Presidency being the same party, there will likely be a great deal of issues brought up that will adversely affect FSA employees. Among the proposals are: raising the amount employees contribute toward their FERS retirement system, changing the retirement calculation to use the highest 5 years average salary from the current 3 year average, decreasing the contribution amount that the government pays toward your health insurance, replacing only one employee for every three that leave government service, reducing the number of government employees and many more. The President has publicly stated he wants to cut $54 billion from domestic spending and use the money to increase spending on defense. The administration stated we will need to “do more with less”, and so we should expect our FSA budget to be under pressure. Right now, there are no specifics, but as the President’s 2018 budget is delivered to Congress, we will start to see what the direction will be as the budget process continues.

All NASCOE members will need to be ready to contact their Congressman about proposals that will adversely affect our future employment, benefits, retirement and working conditions. We should all be establishing a relationship with the local aide in the Congressman’s office and when specific proposals emerge, our relation-ship will help us address the issues with the Congressman. We all have a voice in what happens and we need to use it!

In addition, we can begin contributing to the NASCOE PAC. The Political Action Committee (PAC) continues to be an important part of our legislative process. The PAC is a resource to help get our Representative’s attention. It is also a resource in which we can help Legislators, who are friends of Agriculture and FSA, to get re-elected.

Hunter Moorehead and NASCOE Leadership carefully choose which members of Congress to support in their efforts to get re-elected. These are the people that will fight for us when we get into the important issues of employee benefits, restructuring offices, etc. We need that assistance from these Representatives when times get tough and the PAC helps us accomplish that goal. Unfortunately, money talks… and many other groups are lobbying for the same budget money we are in order to keep our jobs, so the PAC is very important to all of us.

The number of PAC donators improved last year nationwide. However, we can do much better and need to discuss this with our members. Donating to the PAC is done through a deduction from each paycheck automatically and it only takes a minute to set up. If you have not signed up to donate to the NASCOE PAC, please consider doing so…it is a vital part of our NASCOE mission.

So what has NASCOE done? Well in the past few years, NASCOE has:

  • The most recent win for NASCOE was the buyback time. This affected many employees who are still working that were hired on before 1989. This was due to NASCOE.
  • Are you in an office with an employee who was hired in the past 4 years? NASCOE has saved 815 FTE’s. We have 593 offices here in the Midwest Area. NASCOE was also scheduled to take a $61 MILLION dollar hit. This was saved. FSA operated like normal with no staffing reduction. This was due to NASCOE.
  • How about 5-7 years ago, when NASCOE got us credit for our sick leave towards retirement. This helped many offices where employees were struggling with “FERS FLU”.
  • Employee’s with 30+ years of service may remember the days of taking Leave Without Pay (LWOP) since County Office employees were not recognized like GS employees were. We are not entitled to anything in life, let alone at FSA. Our leave is a benefit. Many people do not know that our leave is negotiated on a yearly basis. However, NASCOE negotiates it since we are not GS employees we are CO employees.

Since NASCOE can’t control the lack of cost of living increases, or our insurance premiums going up, NASCOE is always looking out for our members. NASCOE said if we can’t control it let’s look at other avenues. Did you know:


  1. There are 40-50 NASCOE members working on multiple task forces. One task forces includes the PT reclassification task force. Yes, that’s right, NASCOE realizes our programs are much more complex and to retain good talent, working on upgrading to PT’s to Grade 8. This is difficult due to budgetary, but at least NASCOE and WDC management are working on this together. Grade 7’s didn’t happen overnight. Many of you may remember being a CO-3. Look where we have come, thanks to NASCOE.
  2. KEY PT’s – here’s that first step to item a, and also upward mobility for PT’s who are not mobile. Key PT’s are Grade 8’s.
  3. Grade 9 Acting In Charge PT’s, now have the ability to potentially apply for a CED vacancy, another item NASCOE has gotten for us, depending on how the COC wants to open the CED vacancy.

The list goes on. As we enter into a time of restructuring, encourage everyone to join NASCOE. The more members we have, the stronger our voice is.


NAFEC Leadership met in St. Charles Missouri along with NASCOE which is our county office employee’s organization and RASCOE which is the retirees group of ASCS/FSA. Every year this is an opportunity for employees in our local County Offices and Elected County Committees to meet together and discuss ways to strengthen our FSA delivery system. NAFEC’s primary goal is to protect local control and authorities for our Farmer Elected Committees.

NAFEC had the opportunity to meet with Leadership from USDA’s FSA office in Washington D.C. to discuss issues of importance. NAFEC is always available to advise and help local committees if they have problems or questions they need help with.

The 2018 Farm Bill currently being discussed by both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees appears to be moving forward. Recently Chairman Roberts of the Senate Agriculture Committee asked Majority Leader McConnell about moving the 2018 Farm Bill. Majority Leader McConnell said the sooner the better which is a good sign from Leadership that floor time will be made available in the Senate when the Agriculture Committee has a bill ready for Senate action.

Also in the House Agriculture Committee Chairman Conaway has indicated that his committee is also ready to begin the writing of the 2018 Farm Bill. If the process moves forward we could see early next year the new farm bill taking shape. I don’t believe there will be major changes in the farm bill but because of the current low prices and economic stress on our farms and ranches there may be an effort to raise prices. The result will be that FSA will still play a major role in delivering farm programs to our producers.

Also word is that the Agriculture Appropriations Bill will be ready for the House Floor in September as a part of 8 bill combination. Chairman Sessions of the House Rules Committee has said that the House Rule will not allow any amendments that would take money from the agriculture bill and move it to another agency. That is good news that will help keep USDA funding in place as the new budget year nears. Provisions in both the House and Senate bills has full funding for county office employees as well as protects funding for COC’s to meet when needed to conduct business. So with understaffing in many of our offices, there should not be any further downsizing.

NAFEC is told that as many as 30% of our CED’s will be eligible for retirement in the next two years. State offices need to have the people trained necessary to have qualified COT lists for County Committees to interview to hire for vacant CED positions. Remember County Committees hire the CED’s, you don’t have to accept who the State Office sends if you don’t think they will be a fit for your local office.


USDA appointments have been moving very slow and NAFEC will keep an eye on them and update you as positions are filled.

2017-2018 Executive Officers Elected:

President- Dennis Ray

Vice-president- Brandon Wilson

Treasurer- Curt Houck

Secretary- Marcinda Kester


Respectfully submitted by your Pennsylvania Delegates,

Robin Robertson

John Stinavage

NEA Rally Reports

Please read the reports that were presented at the May 2017 NEA Rally.  The Rally was held in Wareham, MA.

Benefits Report

Legislative Report

Membership Report

NAFEC Report

Negotiation Report

Programs Report

Publicity Report

NEA Executive Rick Csutoras wants to send a big thank you to everyone who attended the NEA Rally this weekend:

I really appreciated your patience with our “fluid” agenda 😉  I also want to appreciate and congratulate all the Massachusetts folks who worked so hard to pull this off.  I have already received several compliments on the amazing job you did!!  

I also want to thank all of our area chairs who put these reports together and who work so hard all year round.  NASCOE couldn’t be as successful as we are without folks like you.