Facing a 12 percent budget cut, the Agriculture Department is offering more buyouts.

Facing a 12 percent budget cut, the Agriculture Department is offering more buyouts. David Goldman/AP

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Agriculture to offer more buyouts

Department plans to grant 300 buyouts and then hire 150 employees at lower grades.

In an effort to save an estimated $3.8 million, the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will offer 900 employees the chance to take buyouts or early outs, Federal News Radio reported Monday.

The department plans to accept only 300 of the 900 requests, however, targeting employees performing administrative duties. Agriculture will subsequently hire 150 employees with different skill sets at lower grades at different locations around the country. 

According to a spokesman, USDA plans to establish a shared service center that will modernize administrative functions.

This measure comes on the heels of amoves earlier this year, to close 259 domestic offices, facilities and labs is in response to a $3 billion -- or 12 percent -- cut to Agriculture’s 2012 discretionary spending.

In October 2011, USDA offered a round of buyouts to nearly 2,000 employees in its rural development division.

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