- Photo courtesy of Dey via Flickr Creative Commons
- The USDA has service centers in the majority of counties throughout the U.S.
Just in from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
The USDA will "close 259 domestic offices, facilities and labs across the country, as well as seven foreign offices," the agency announced Monday.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack broke the news on the USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service, a plan devised to help the department "innovate, modernize, and be better stewards of the taxpayers' dollars," at American Farm Bureau Federation's 93rd Annual Meeting.
According to a news release following his comments:
"These actions and plans to close or consolidate facility, office and lab operations will impact USDA headquarters in Washington and in 46 states and 1 U.S. territory."
Here are some more additional details from the release.:
- Farm Service Agency (FSA): Consolidate 131 county offices in 32 states; more than 2,100 FSA offices remain throughout the United States
- Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS): Close 2 country offices; more than 95 FAS offices remain throughout the world
- Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS): Close 15 APHIS offices in 11 states and 5 APHIS offices in 5 foreign countries; more than 560 APHIS offices remain throughout the United States and 55 remain throughout the world
- Rural Development (RD): Close 43 area and sub offices in 17 states and U.S. territories; approximately 450 RD offices remain throughout the United States.
- Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS): Close 24 soil survey offices in 21 states; more than 2,800 NRCS offices remain throughout the United States
- Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS): Close 5 district offices in 5 states; 10 district offices remain throughout the United States
- Agricultural Research Service (ARS): Close 12 programs at 10 locations; more than 240 programs remain throughout the United States
- Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services (FNCS): Close 31 field offices in 28 states; 32 FNCS offices will remain throughout the United States
In addition, USDA is implementing a series of other changes that will save taxpayers' money while eliminating redundancies and inefficiencies. The Blueprint for Stronger Service details 133 recommendations that affirm processes already in place, as well as 27 initial improvements, and other, longer-term improvements. The initial improvements include the following:
- Consolidate more than 700 cell phone plans into about 10;
- Standardize civil rights training and purchases of cyber security products; and
- Ensure more efficient and effective service to our employees by moving toward more centralized civil rights, human resource, procurement, and property management functions, creating millions of dollars in efficiencies without sacrificing the quality of our work.