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USDA relocating NASS analysts to regional center

The Agriculture Department, the primary source of U.S. crop and livestock data, will move analysts from state offices into nine National Agricultural Statistics Service regional centers in an effort to provide more in-depth analysis while saving money, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture today, according to a Reuters report.

The centers, due to open in 2013, are the latest change in USDA reporting as the agency adjusts to federal budget cuts.

“We’re going to remain the gold standard,” said Vilsack in announcing the regional centers, according to the Reuters report.

The secretary said the move “will give us the opportunity to dive more deeply into data” and provide more accurate data.

Congress allotted $158.6 million for the National Agricultural Statistics Service this fiscal year, $7 million less than USDA requested but a 1 percent increase from the previous year, when funding was cut by 3 percent in an effort to reduce the federal deficit, Reuters said.