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.

Comments (20)
  1. Kevin says:

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture is shutting down 259 offices, labs and facilities across the country.
    The USDA says the cuts will not mean a reduction in inspectors or inspection work.

    Wow! Just wow! I am glad we will all still be safe…..

    1. JGE says:

      Just what I was thinking, No way there won’t be a reduction in inspection/testing.

    2. Bill smith says:

      Maybe you will have to be responsible for yourself — since Obama will not be taking such good care of you.

      1. truth hurts says:

        Obama is in favor of smaller government…he has cuts more federal workers than any other POTUS while under his watch the private sector has seen job growth for 18 months in-a-row.

        He’s a GOP with a DFL under his name.

        1. truth hurts says:

          Plus, he came up with the idea of a two-year pay freeze on federal workers. He also proposing .5 percent increase n his 4th year. He’s very GOP

        2. Bill smith says:

          Could be the truth, but I am not seeing it that way…

      2. newcraft says:

        Let me know when you are equipped to be personally responsible for the avian flu that’s hiding in your next chicken dinner. Or that microscopic shard of metal that flew off a packaging machine that hadn’t been looked at in a while and just happened to land in your box of Wheaties for breakfast this morning. Or that extra pound or two you gained because a company decided to label your meat as “lean” when it actually had undisclosed percentages of saturated fat. We don’t need people warning us about those things and seeking out those problems, do we? We’ll deal with deceptive labeling, unsanitary food handling, and chemical production in our limitless personal time.

  2. Pat says:

    How could there not be a reduction in inspections?

    Please explain this you worthless bureaucrat.

  3. BW says:

    USDA does more than inspection. They are cutting research sites.

  4. Editor says:

    What exactly do these people do?

    Too bad the reporter didn’t include the most important facts.

  5. Bill smith says:

    My sister works for the Farm Service Agency. Everything they do can be done on a computer. FSA employees are good at pushing paper around… It is about time they shut some of these offices down.

    1. woodworker says:

      Hey Bill, USDA employees do more than shuiffle papers all day long. Sit in your sister’s desk for a week or month, before you make this claim. Working for the FSA is more that just working at the computer. You would be surprised how many questions those emloyees have to answer each and every day. Many of those questions are not even farm related. People call FSA, when they cannot figure out what is wrong with their garden, why their lawn won’t grow, etc. Other agencies rely on FSA for aerial photography maps, soil maps, farm boundaries, etc. Where do you think all this neat GPS mapping originated? You guessed it, the Farm Service Agency offices. Not everyone has the character or expertise to work for FSA. You would be surprised how many people are passed over, whenever there is an opening for employment with FSA. I agree with the article that some county offices of FSA should be consoliidated, because their workload is so small, compared to other offices. Why pay rent, phone bills, and the cost of office supplies, when those small counties have very few customers?

      1. Bill smith says:

        Trouble is, IF they put me in charge of that office, I would fire half the staff and then you would complain that I put folks in the unemployment line. I have worked for the federal government and the state government, and I haven’t found a situation yet where half the employers could be missing and everything needed to be done would get done. Ten percent of the government employee could be dismissed and nothing would change, except the budget needed.

        1. woodworker says:

          Hey Bill, Yes, but did you work for the FSA ?? Some days, those people are so overwhelmed with work, they do not know which way to turn ! I know of 3 FSA employees over the years, who have been told to stay home from work for a few days, simply because they are ” all stressed out” from the heeavy workload. I will agree, some county offices have lousy employees who really stretch their rules, calling in sick, when they are not sick, especially during peak workload seasons. Others never seem to “get it”, concerning the duties they are supposed to be doing. Some USDA agencies definitely needed a reduction, because all they do is sit around most days. A prime example is the Fish and Wildlife Service. Their parking lots are always filled with USDA vehicles, fancy trucks, 4 wheelers, etc., just using space, at the taxpayers’s expense. I still do not understand why they HAVE to have a bright, fancy pickup, just to drive around the county.

  6. Debbie says:

    We have enough problems now with our food, now they want to cut jobs in that dept, oh that’s real smart, I guess the government doesn’t give a hoot about food safety, oh well chalk up another thing they want to control, not to mention the people losing their jobs. I really don’t understand this country anymore.

    1. Bill smith says:

      I don’t have any problems with my food… You just want someone to blame when you get a tommy ache.

    2. woodworker says:

      Debbie, If you thoroughly read that article, Colin Peterson specifically said there would be NO reduction in food inspection. Too many people assume something else, everytime there is an announcement concerning this agency, You assume the worst, WITHOUT reading the article thoroughly.

  7. Little Tin God says:

    I suppose this is another GOP savings idea. As as added benefit, reducing the inspections of the food we eat will certainly result in the deaths of many of us, thus reducing the number people that need medical care (other than when they’re dying of whatever food poisoning they contracted), less social security payouts (since we’ll be dead and won’t need them) and less medicare payouts (same reason).

    1. dan says:

      There you go, blame a Republican whens things are not going your way. Seems to me the only time I see them getting involved with a food issue is after people have gotten sick. I guess they were not doing there jobs in the first place. Knee jerk reactions just like our wonderful leader.

    2. woodworker says:

      Please read the article THOROUGHLY, before you make comments. Please see my reply to Debbie’s comment.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Watch & Listen LIVE