WASHINGTON (KSNW) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture selected Kansas City region to relocate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
Kansas and Missouri submitted a joint proposal. It was one of 136 from 35 different states.
According to the USDA, the mission of the Economic Research Service is to anticipate trends and emerging issues in agriculture, food, the environment, and rural America and to conduct high-quality, objective economic research to inform and enhance public and private decision making. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides leadership and funding for programs that advance agriculture-related sciences.
With the relocation, 600 high-paying federal jobs will be moved to the region. The ERS jobs pay an average of $120,000 per year, and NIFA jobs between $110,000 and $190,000.
A decision on whether to locate on the Kansas or Missouri side of the Kansas City area is expected to be made in July.
“The decision today to move the USDA agencies to the Kansas City area is proof of the value of collaboration between our two states and our congressional delegation. When we all work together, we can accomplish a lot,” Gov. Laura Kelly said. “While we’ll work hard to make sure the final location is on our side of the river, we know the new location on either side will meet the needs of the USDA and benefit Kansas and Missouri.”
U.S. Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts applauded U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s selection.
“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 Sen. 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.”
“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 US producers rely on. Kansas City is an obvious choice, as many other USDA agencies in the area partner closely with stakeholders,” said Sen. 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.”
Both ERS and NIFA are key research arms of USDA, currently located in the Washington, D.C. area.
But the Union of Concerned Scientists predicted the move will drive off researchers and called it “a blatant attack on science.”
A union representing Economic Research Service employees said the move is “coldhearted” and called for keeping workers in Washington.