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USDA Moving to Kansas City Area
USAgNet - 06/14/2019

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Thursday announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will relocate the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to the Kansas City Region.

The Missouri Cattlemen's Association was quick to welcome the move.

"This is common sense all the way," said MCA Executive Vice President Mike Deering. "Secretary Perdue has said from day one that he wants USDA to be in the people business and work closely with the people the agency serves. This move is in line with that goal. We hope the final location is on the Missouri side, but it's a good move either way."

Secretary Perdue said the Kansas City Region provides a "win-win."

"Following a rigorous site selection process, the Kansas City Region provides a win win - maximizing our mission function by putting taxpayer savings into programmatic outputs and providing affordability, easy commutes, and extraordinary living for our employees," said Perdue. "The Kansas City Region has proven itself to be hub for all things agriculture and is a booming city in America's heartland."

USDA conducted a Cost Benefit Analysis and conservative estimates show a savings of nearly $300 million nominally over a 15-year lease term on employment costs and rent or about $20 million per year, which will allow more funding for research of critical needs like rural prosperity and agricultural competitiveness, and for programs and employees to be retained in the long run, even in the face of tightening budgets. On top of that, state and local governments offered generous relocation incentives packages totaling more than $26 million. Finally, this relocation will give USDA the opportunity to attract a diverse staff with training and interest in agriculture.

"We did not undertake these relocations lightly, and we are doing it to enhance long-term sustainability and success of these agencies. The considerable taxpayer savings will allow us to be more efficient and improve our ability to retain more employees in the long run," added Perdue.

U.S. Senators Pat Roberts (Kan.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Jerry Moran (Kan.) and Josh Hawley (Mo.) Thursday applauded Perdue's selection of the Kansas City area.

"I am excited to hear USDA selected Kansas City as the new location for the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Agricultural research is a critical function of USDA, and I am committed to ensuring we continue to support and strengthen the research mission that our U.S. producers rely on. Kansas City is an obvious choice, as many other USDA agencies in the area partner closely with stakeholders," said Roberts. "The vital research that will occur at the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF) and already occurs throughout the KC Animal Health Corridor makes Kansas City a natural fit. I am pleased that USDA recognizes the rich resources the heartland provides."

"Today's announcement is great news for the Kansas City region and our state," said Blunt. "These agencies will bring hundreds of good-paying jobs to the area and enhance Missouri's role as a national leader in ag research. Secretary Perdue made the right choice in selecting Kansas City, which is a great place to live and work. The challenges and opportunities have never been greater than they will be in the next 25 years. These research agencies do great work, and will be at the cutting edge of agriculture and well located for assistance and examples as they do their job."

"After months of advocating to Secretary Perdue that NIFA and ERS ought to be relocated to the Kansas City area, I'm thrilled that USDA has selected Kansas City to house these critical research agencies," said Moran. "The animal health corridor, stretching from Manhattan, Kansas to Columbia, Missouri, is the largest concentration of animal health companies in the world, and Kansas is also the home of the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility -- and today's decision further bolsters Kansas City's status as a national leader in the ag industry. It is always positive when our government can operate outside of Washington and closer to the people it serves, and I am certain that the decision to relocate NIFA and ERS to Kansas City is a good one. I look forward to helping welcome these USDA agencies and employees to Kansas City."

"This is outstanding news for the Kansas City region. We're home to some of the hardest working farmers in the country, so this is a fantastic decision by the USDA," said Hawley. "As the new home of the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Missouri and Kansas will continue to lead in the research and development of American agricultural policy for the 21st century. We are grateful for the job opportunities and renewed partnership this move creates for our state."

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