MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is shutting down 259 offices, labs and facilities across the country.
The closings include a USDA office in Minneapolis and a consolidation of some Farm Service Agency offices in Minnesota.
Deputy District Manager Andrew Lorenz said that 16 people work at the Minneapolis office. He expects 12 to 14 of them to be laid off.
The office handles all federal inspections of meat, poultry and egg products in Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas.
The announcement also means several county Farm Service Agencies in Minnesota could consolidate. The USDA is looking at Waseca, Pine, Scott, Chisago and Nicollet counties.
The USDA says employees will be given the opportunity to transfer to other offices when possible.
The goal is to save $150 million a year. A cutback on travel and supplies has already saved the department $90 million.
The USDA says the cuts will not mean a reduction in inspectors or inspection work.