USDA researchers reassigned amid citrus disease outbreak

Nearly 70 full time employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Reseach Center in Weslaco are being reassigned to other facilities.

They will have about five months to show up to their new job and location or they will be fired.

Back in October 2011, the USDA announced it would shut the center down.

All the full time employees are being reassigned to other centers across the United States.

They have until June to show up to their new posts.

But the move has angered many workers at the center.

Many of them told Action 4 News that they have families rooted in the Rio Grande Valley.

They also might end up having to do different jobs within the agency.

The employees said that add the move is unfair and will have a deep impact in the Valley.

The reassignments come at a time when the USDA identified the citrus greening disease and issued a quarantine at a San Juan citrus grove.

Researchers will spend the next week determining the extent of the disease.

Employees said the research center is at the forefront of the battling the boil weevil, livestock ticks and agricultural diseases from Mexico.

They said it TMs vital work researchers at the center are currently doing and many employees say will leave the valley Vulnerable.

The center will close on June 15 but has already fired about 40 students because of the closure.