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Upper Marlboro, La Plata offices to serve area residents

By AMANDA SCOTT

Staff writer

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development service office in Prince Frederick is closing Oct. 1, and services will be dispersed among two other locations in the Southern Maryland region, in an effort to increase efficiency and cut costs, according to USDA officials.

On Tuesday, USDA Rural Development Acting Under Secretary Doug O’Brien visited the USDA Service Center in Upper Marlboro, at 5301 Marlboro Race Track Road, to announce that location as one of the two Rural Development offices in the Southern Maryland region beginning Oct. 1, according to a USDA news release. The other office will be located in La Plata at 101 Catalpa Dr.

USDA Rural Development helps rural individuals, communities and businesses obtain financial and technical assistance needed to address their diverse and unique needs, according to the USDA website.

Currently, the only Rural Development office in Southern Maryland is located in Prince Frederick and serves Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties, according to the USDA website. The existing Prince Frederick office is one of four Rural Development offices across Maryland.

Kathy Beisner, acting state director of Rural Development for Maryland, said Wednesday the office at Prince Frederick primarily works with rural residents needing help with housing or house repairs.

Beisner said the USDA will be utilizing available space at the existing USDA offices in Upper Marlboro and La Plata.

In the release, O’Brien said, “We are grateful for the partnership with the Farm Service Agency to join together at Upper Marlboro and La Plata to satisfy Secretary [of Agriculture Tom] Vilsack’s goal to maintain high-quality service to all USDA customers.”

According to the release, the Prince Frederick office is one of 259 offices marked for closure by Vilsack as part of his Blueprint for Stronger Service to increase efficiency in USDA operations. The Blueprint for Stronger Service is based on a department-wide review of operations conducted “as part of the [Obama] Administration’s Campaign to Cut Waste ... to make government work better and more efficiently for the American People,” the release states.

For more information about the Blueprint for Stronger Service initiative, go to the USDA website at www.usda.gov and click on “Blueprint” under the “Secretary’s Priorities” tab.

ascott@somdnews.com