Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has narrowed the list of applications for those seeking to become the new homes of the USDA Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. In total, 136 expressions of interest were received from 35 states.
“The announcement of this middle list shows that we are committed to the important missions of these agencies and transparency in our selection process. USDA will make the best choice for our employees and customers,” Perdue said. “Relocation will help ensure that USDA is the most effective, most efficient, and most customer-focused agency in the federal government, allowing us to be closer to our stakeholders and move our resources closer to our customers.”
For this initial down-select, USDA applied a set of guiding principles against the Expressions of Interest locations including USDA travel requirements, labor force statistics, work hours most compatible with all USDA office schedules. Sixty-seven Expressions of Interest remain under consideration.
The complete list of Expressions of Interest still under consideration is below.
The Union of Concerned Scientists was critical of the announcement.
“The Trump administration’s reality TV-style contest to relocate USDA research agencies makes a mockery of food and agricultural research," said Mike Lavender, senior manager of government affairs in the Food and Environment Program at UCS. "The White House continually touts its support for farmers, ranchers and rural economies, but has worked to systematically dismantle evidence-based research and programs that serve those very constituents. Just yesterday it proposed a 7% cut to the USDA research portfolio. Moreover, the administration has developed this proposal with little to no stakeholder input.”