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USDA back at work despite problems after electrical fire

All Agriculture Department employees will be expected to report to work today, but the USDA headquarters and the South Building may still not have electricity or other services, a spokesman for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told The Hagstrom Report late Monday.

A small electrical fire in the Agriculture Department’s South Building early Monday shut down both that building and the main headquarters building. The fire led the department’s main computer servers to stop functioning, Vilsack said told the North American Agricultural Journalists Monday, adding that he had to work out of the nearby headquarters of the U.S. Forest Service.

Some USDA employees had email Monday and others did not, and people trying to contact the department may continue to have difficulty, officials said.