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Closing of 259 #USDA offices raises safety concerns (AP Photo: Kodiak Fishery Industrial Technology Center)


FILE - In this file photo taken in July 2009, a technician dumps seafood byproducts into a hydrolysis machine at the Fishery Industrial Technology Center in Kodiak, Alaska. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will close 259 domestic offices, labs and other facilities as part of an effort to save $150 million per year, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Monday, Jan. 9, 2012.FILE - In this file photo taken in July 2009, a technician dumps seafood byproducts into a hydrolysis machine at the Fishery Industrial Technology Center in Kodiak, Alaska. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will close 259 domestic offices, labs and other facilities as part of an effort to save $150 million per year, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Monday, Jan. 9, 2012. (AP photo/University Of Alaska Fairbanks)

By Michael J. Crumb
Associated Press / January 9, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa—The U.S. Agriculture Department announced Monday it will close nearly 260 offices nationwide, a move that won praise for cutting costs but raised concerns about the possible effect on food safety.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the goal was to save $150 million a year in the agency's $145 billion budget. About $90 million had already been saved by reducing travel and supplies, and the closures were expected to save another $60 million, he said.

The plan calls for 259 offices, labs and other facilities to be closed, affecting the USDA headquarters in Washington and operations in 46 states. Seven foreign offices also will be shut.
Some of the closures had been previously announced. The USDA said last year it.... http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2012/01/09/usda_says_it_will_close_259_offices_to_save_150m/

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