USDA office to cut staff by 150

Monday - 3/5/2012, 7:05am EST

The Agriculture Department's Natural Resources Conservation Service wants to trim its ranks by 300 employees by end of the year. But the agency's total headcount will drop only by about 150.

NRCS plans to offer 900 employees the chance to take buyouts or early retirements, and the agency will accept about 300 of them.

A bureau spokesman said NRCS will hire about 150 employees back, but with different skill sets, at lower grades and at different locations around the country.

NRCS said the buyouts and early retirements will target employees performing administrative functions. The agency plans on establishing a shared service center and modernizing administrative functions.

The spokesman says NRCS expects to save about $3.8 million with the buyouts.

This latest round of buyouts is helping USDA deal with a 12 percent, or $3 billion, cut in its discretionary spending in 2012. USDA lost 7,000 employees from regular retirements and early outs over the last 15 months.

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