Five U.S. Department of Agriculture county offices will be closing in Minnesota this week.
The closings are a money-saving move by the federal farm agency. Minnesota will still have 74 Farm Service Agency offices across the state.
Minnesota FSA Director Linda Hennen says the agency will roll out a new computer system later this year to improve efficiency.
"That new program will allow farmers to do pretty much everything online from home if they choose to do so," Hennen says. "But what we do find is especially for a couple of years following a new farm bill, people like to come to the office because they have questions they want answered."
The Minnesota offices closing are in Nicollet, Pine, Waseca, Chisago and Scott counties. Farmers in those counties will be assigned to the nearest FSA office.
Hennen also says the USDA also cut 55 employees in Minnesota last year as part of the budget reductions.