USDA touting move of research agencies from DC to KC

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Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue, being interviewed at the NAFB convention/Photo by Melissa Gregory

By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the move of two research agencies at the USDA from Washington, D.C. to Kansas City puts the agencies closer to those they serve.

Perdue has toured an office building near downtown Kansas City where the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture will be relocated.

Perdue insists this isn’t as big a move as critics claim.

“Do you know that the Economic Research Service and NIFA were the only two agencies that were not represented outside of D.C.? Ninety percent of USDA workforce is outside of D.C. and NIFA and ERS were not, but now they will be,” Perdue tells reporters during his stop at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters convention in Kansas City this weekend.

Critics have claimed the two research arms of the USDA will lose valuable experience by moving out of the District of Columbia. Some contend the USDA made the move, because the Trump Administration is upset with some of their work, especially research on the potential impact of climate change.

The move is an economic boost to the greater Kansas City area with 576 USDA jobs moving to the Midwest, which an average salary of between $100-and-120 thousand.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson says Missouri officials worked with their Kansas counterparts to make the successful bid which landed the two agencies.

“The one thing we do know, we’re hard workers and we’re going to continue to work hard and when you work hard, the results happen to be like today and this is a great moment for Kansas City,” Parson says. “It’s a great moment for our state and what it’s going to do for us in the future.”

The agencies are moving to 805 Pennsylvania Avenue, just off of downtown Kansas City. The Congressional delegations of Missouri and Kansas as well as local officials across the state line worked together on the bid, winning a contest that attracted proposals from 135 locations across the country.

The state of Missouri says the relocation to Kansas City puts the two agencies within 300 miles of 13 land-grant universities as well as top agricultural research universities.

Melissa Gregory, KFEQ Farm Director, and the Missourinet contributed to this article.