LANSING, Mich. -- In a move to shave off approximately $600,000 from its budget, Michigan Department of Agriculture Director Don Koivisto announced Wednesday the permanent closure of the departments regional offices. Those locations include offices in Detroit, Escanaba, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Saginaw, St. Joseph, and Traverse City and its district office in Marquette. MDA will still continue to have field staff working around the state using their homes as an office base. The main difference is customers no longer have a brick and mortar location to go to for service. Budget realities are causing us to look at different ways of doing business, said Koivisto. While we anticipate there will be some bumps in the road as we transition to this new business model, MDA will work hard to maintain the high level of customer service we have always provided. Effective Oct. 1, customers calling MDAs regional and district offices have been redirected to a toll-free number in Lansing: 800-292-3939. Additionally, staff are no longer available at those locations. MDAs regional offices provided a variety of services to consumers and industry representatives. They served as a base of operations for investigations, product sampling, plant pest and disease eradication. In addition to those roles, the locations were used for emergency incident management and response, food-borne illness outbreak response and staff training. WNEMl This can't be good..