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Three staff members at Rugby FSA office leavingUSDA increases efficiency by making changes

By Staff | Jan 20, 2012

Citing the need to get in step with the 21st Century, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is making some changes.

“The USDA, like families and businesses across the country, cannot continue to operate like we did 50 years ago,” said Tom Vilsack, agriculture secretary, USDA. “We must innovate, modernize, and be better stewards of the taxpayer’s dollars. We must build on the record accomplishments of farm communities in 2011 with a stronger, more effective USDA in 2012 and beyond.”

The USDA will close 259 domestic offices, facilities and labs across the country, as well as seven foreign offices, according to a recent news release. The news release goes on to say in some cases, offices are no longer staffed or have a very small staff of one or two people; many are within 20 miles of other USDA offices. In other cases, technology improvements, advanced service centers, and thebroadband service have reduced need for brick and mortar facilities.

“Our farm loans program statewide has been reorganized and people have been moved,” said Aaron Krauter, executive director, North Dakota Farm Service Agency. “We want to make sure people are relocated where they can work.”

Although Rugby’s FSA office is not closing, three staff members’ jobs have been affected. Cheryl Engebretson, farm loan manager, has gone to work in the Bottineau office of FSA. The farm loan program which Engebretson managed in the Rugby office has been moved to McHenry and Bottineau counties.

It has not yet been determined where the other two employees, Landon Kimball, farm loan officer, and Cynthia Swanson, secretary, will go.

Five other employees including the FSA director of the Rugby office, Gary Kraft, will remain in the Rugby office and continue work on other FSA programs.

“In the past decades, U.S. agriculture has become the second most productive sector of the American economy, thanks to farmers adopting technology, reducing the debt, and effectively managing risk,” said Vilsack. “These are lessons from which we can all learn. As we continue to invest in rural communities across the country, USDA has heard from producers about reducing the red tape and the need to modernize its services. We are answering the challenge by announcing a series of efforts to help us continue to steamline operations, make the best of taxpayer resources, and provide the best possible service to the American people.”

Currently, U.S. agriculture is experiencing its most productive period in history thanks to the resiliency, resourcefulness, and efficiency of American producers, according to Vilsack.

For more information, please visit the website: www.usda.gov/strongerservice.

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