New home soon for USDA re­search agen­cies

Successful Farming - - FIRST CUT -

USDA will need only a cou­ple of months to choose the new homes for two re­search agen­cies that Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Sonny Per­due has de­cided to move out of the Wash­ing­ton area.

“Cur­rently, we ex­pect to iden­tify the new lo­ca­tion(s) by Jan­uary 2019 and open the new of­fice(s) in the sum­mer of 2019,” Per­due said in a let­ter to Se­nate Agri­cul­ture Com­mit­tee lead­ers. Oc­to­ber 15 was the cut­off day for “ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est” from uni­ver­si­ties, cities, and lo­cal gov­ern­ments to house the Eco­nomic Re­search Ser­vice and the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Food and Agri­cul­ture, with a com­bined 600 em­ploy­ees.

Se­na­tor Jerry Mo­ran (R-KS) sug­gested his home state as an ideal site and, in par­tic­u­lar, Man­hat­tan, home of the Na­tional Bio and Agro-De­fense. The Iowa state Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Au­thor­ity pro­posed the Hawk­eye State. Op­po­nents want to keep the agen­cies in Wash­ing­ton. Their best hope is a rider in ei­ther the farm bill or the USDA fund­ing bill to block the re­lo­ca­tion. Congress might not act on ei­ther bill un­til De­cem­ber.

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