USDA to close 249 offices, including 131 at FSA | TSLN.com

USDA to close 249 offices, including 131 at FSA

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Jan. 9 the agency, in a cost-saving measure, will this year close 249 offices. He made the announcement during a speech at the 93rd annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Vilsack said the Farm Service Agency (FSA) , National Resources Conservation Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Rural Development, Food Safety and Inspection Service and Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services have made their recommendations for 249 offices that would be closed or consolidated and work transferred. Of the closures, 131 will be FSA offices in 32 states.

These locations join an additional 12 labs at 10 locations that the Agricultural Resource Service received permission from Congress to close this fiscal year, for a total of 259 locations.

“Even with these changes, USDA will still have a very strong presence in virtually all counties in the country, as well as around the world,” Vilsack emphasized. A complete list of locations impacted by the recommendations is available on http://www.usda.gov, together with the criteria used in making the recommendations. Click on “Blueprint for Stronger Service.”

The closings are to begin in late winter, with the goal of completing them by late July.

– LMA