USDA Says It Will Close 259 Offices To Save $150M - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

USDA Says It Will Close 259 Offices To Save $150M

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.

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.

      
      (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)
   

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