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U.S. Department of Agriculture building in Washington, D.C. Getty Images/Mark Wilson

What's being said about ERS, NIFA relocation?

Some support relocation, some don't support relocation; many expected to leave agency rather than relocate

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s plan to relocate the Economic Research Service and National Institute for Food and Agriculture to Kansas City continues to make headlines more than a week after the June 13 announcement.

Here’s some of what we’ve seen.

Some USDA researchers are reluctant to relocate to Kansas City. Dan Levine, who advises companies on relocations, expects a high amount of turnover from the move. –

The states of Kansas and Missouri are offering incentives to USDA to locate the ERS and NIFA office space in their part of Kansas City. Why is USDA pitting the two states against each other? An opinion column from the Missourian.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is moving the agencies to the Kansas City area beginning Aug. 1 despite every published fact, affected employee and outside analysis declaring the move unwise, unnecessary and harmful. An opinion column in the Telegraph Herald.

“This is a tiny step in the right direction, but most of our federal agencies should be moved out of the Beltway,” writes Jon Gabriel, in an opinion article in “If we aren’t going to consolidate or eliminate the other agencies, at least move them closer to their mission.”

Perdue’s plan doesn’t make the USDA work better. It has created dysfunction in federal service that did not exist prior to his announcement, says a Missouri native who works for the ERS in a guest commentary in The Kansas City Star. “We are a voice in the capital for rural America, made up of rural Americans, bringing data-driven analysis to the public sphere.”

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the move will save the agency money. An independent analysis by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association finds the move will cost taxpayers as much as $182 million. – Feedstuffs

Lawmakers are trying to halt the move, but it’s unclear if they will be successful. – Maryland Matters

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