The Obama Administration on Jan. 9 issued a downsizing plan for field services of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, to shut down 259 USDA Federal offices and facilities in 46 states, and close USDA offices in seven nations. The excuse is to save funds — a paltry $150 million a year out of a budget of $145 billion, but the intent is to undercut the support base of U.S. agriculture production and the food supply, in accord with the British imperial intent to get rid of people.
Obama must go, then people may eat again.
Among the stinking features of the Obama gameplan:
* Reduce disaster aid. Of the 259 closures, 131 are Farm Service Agency offices, part of the system for handling help to farming, by monitoring pending disasters, and conducting post-disaster follow-up; along with other Fed programs. At a time of frequent weather extremes, this disaster-relief network should be vastly upgraded and expanded, not shut down.
* Reduce food safety inspection. Many of the closures eliminate local and regional operations of the Food Safety and Inspection Services of the USDA, in major centers of the Farmbelt, including Minneapolis, Minnesota; Madison, Wisconsin; and Lawrence, Kansas.
To date, the Minneapolis center has conducted all the USDA food safety monitoring in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming. What's next, who knows. Instead of shutdown, these inspection operations should be expanded, along with building up domestic, diversified food production, to replace the current cartelized, import-dependent food system, prone to food-borne diseases, and plant and animal illness.
* Reduce research. 10 research centers are being eliminated, including the one and only USDA operation in Alaska, which has focussed on the rich fishery potential of the northern waters.
An 80-year-old USDA cotton research center in Shafter, California, is to close. It has solved many cotton disease problems over the decades, and currently has vital work on a fusarium wilt.
* Eliminate experienced people. The latest Obama plan continues its pre-existing push to get rid of USDA staff in all kinds of ways (early retirement, "voluntary separation incentive pay", job "buy-outs"), in the name of saving money. In intent, it is driving out the people and the skills needed for support to farming now, and for expansion. The net result from these get-them-to-quit plans, was described this week as "good news in terms of us being able to live within our means in terms of salary and expense accounts," by Vilsack's Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. She said, "When you calculate the number of years employees have been at the Department, we're seeing an outflow of 20,000 years of USDA service..."
To her boss, that's good news.