New home soon for USDA research agencies
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.