USDA closing 259 offices to save $150M

7:43 PM, Jan 9, 2012   |    comments
U.S. Department of Agriculture image from the AP.
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will close 259 domestic offices, labs and other facilities as part of an effort to save $150 million per year in its $145 billion budget.

The plan announced Monday will affect the agency's Washington headquarters and operations in 46 states.

According to the "Blueprint for Stronger Service," the USDA plans to close its Food and Nutrition Service office in Grand Rapids Township, its Farm Service Agency office in Portage, and its Natural Resource Conservation Service office in Marquette.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says in a statement that his agency must "be better stewards of the taxpayers' dollars."

He says many of the offices being closed have few employees and are near other offices. It was not clear from the USDA announcement whether employees would be laid off or moved to other offices.

The USDA has a broad array of programs, ranging from emergency aid for farms to grants for rural development and the program commonly known as food stamps.

Associated Press

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