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      USDA research lab could close in Weslaco

      Researchers with the United States Department of Agriculture Research Center in Weslaco have watched as Citrus in the Rio Grande Valley survived a flood, freeze, and even disease.

      Now these researchers watch as their own jobs are at stake|with President Barack Obama TMs latest budget proposal that would shut down the research center.

      "We had a meeting with about 15 growers to discuss what our options are and how we can cover what we've done. They options are"we don't have options."

      Mangan said, if the center were to close, all full-time employees have the choice to relocate to other areas of the U.S, retire, or resign.

      It looks pretty harsh, but there are three choices, Mangan said.

      But for others who work at the center"the news of a possible shut down does not leave them with many options.

      "The people who will be immediately"negatively affected will be the student helpers, temporary employees, and stake holders."

      He said many of those employees cannot just pick up and leave|.especially if they have to move to a place that has a higher cost of living.

      As for the growers, who depend on scientist like Mangan to keep their crop healthy, Mangan said researchers will continue to be available to them"but that availability won TMt be just a day drive away.