Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced cuts to USDA agency budgets, including the consolidation of 15 Food Safety and Inspection Service District Offices into ten by the end of 2013. Vilsack made the announcement in a speech to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
District offices slated for closure include Lawrence, Kansas; Beltsville, Maryland; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Albany, New York; and Madison, Wisconsin. USDA has not yet determined how the closed offices will merge into the ten remaining offices.
All totaled, USDA will close 259 domestic offices, facilities and labs across the country, as well as seven foreign offices.
“When fully implemented, these actions along with other recommended changes will provide efficiencies valued at about $150 million annually – and eventually more based on future realignment of the workforce – and will ensure that USDA continues to provide optimal service to the American people within available funding levels,” a USDA news release said. “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.”
In making the announcement, Vilsack unveiled a new report, the “Blueprint for Stronger Service,” that is based on a Department-wide review of operations conducted as part of the Administration’s Campaign to Cut Waste. To view the report, click here.