Tag Archives: Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Some U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers are reluctant to move across the country to the Kansas City area when two research agencies move there.

The USDA announced plans earlier this month to move the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture closer to farmers and agribusinesses they serve, and many employees have objected to the move from the Washington D.C. area.

USDA researcher Andrew Crane-Droesch tells the Kansas City Star the move is out of the question.

“It’s a mixture of outrage and resignation,” Crane-Droesch said of morale at his office. “Nobody wants to move — nothing against Kansas City.”

He said he doesn’t want to live far from his aging parents on the East Coast, and his wife has better career options in the Washington area. And the couple is in the middle of adopting.

When officials announced the move to employees of both agencies, employees turned their backs on the Agriculture Secretary.

Critics say the research agencies have lost veteran employees and been unable to fill vacancies since the USDA announced last year it was considering moving their headquarters. Opponents also argued that moving them will make it harder for federal policymakers to get objective research that might raise questions about President Donald Trump’s policies.

USDA officials say the move will save about $20 million a year on rent and other costs, which will provide more money for research.

Losing some employees is expected in this kind of move, said Dan Levine, who advises companies on relocations at Oxford Economics. He said that is why it is more common for companies to open a new office instead of closing one location and moving everyone to a new location.

“Clearly when you move people from D.C. to Kansas City, the first thing you have to worry about is retention,” Levine said. “I would expect a high amount of turnover on a move like that. And that might be something that they can for whatever reason tolerate.”

Kansas City area economic development officials are excited about the prospect of nearly 550 new jobs in the area that will pay between $80,000 and $100,000 a year.

Kansas City Area Development Council CEO Tim Cowden said his group is committed to helping federal employees and their families make the move to Kansas City.

“We understand and empathize with the families and the employees,” Cowden said. “It’s a huge move, it’s a huge transition.”

An organization representing agricultural economists says a relocation effort by the Department of Agriculture will cost taxpayers. The Agricultural and Applied Economics Association claims the plan by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue would cost taxpayers $83 to $182 million dollars, instead of saving them $300 million as USDA claims.

Secretary Perdue is planning to move the Economic Research Service and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture away from Washington, D.C. and to the Kansas City area. Three AAEA member economists reviewed USDA’s cost-benefit analysis. The review found that USDA overstated the cost of keeping the agencies in Washington D.C., and that USDA had failed to take account of the value of research and data lost through resignations and retirements.

Additionally, the organization says a rushed, unplanned move will “undermine the quality of USDA agricultural economic information at a critical time for the nation’s agricultural and rural economy.”  Given the economy, AAEA president David Zilberman says, “This is the worst possible time” for such a much by USDA.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to relocate the headquarters of two research agencies to the Kansas City area, intensifying concerns that research will suffer.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the move Thursday and said it will bring the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture closer to farmers and agribusinesses. He also said it would save about $20 million a year.

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.

Members of the Kansas and Missouri congressional delegations and the state’s governors applauded the decision. It’s expected to bring 550 jobs to the area.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) today applauded U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s selection of the Kansas City area as the new location for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).


“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.”


“Today’s announcement is great news for the Kansas City region and our state,” said Sen. 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.”


“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.”


“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 Sen. 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.”


“We have been proud to represent the KC region and we remain committed to partnering with USDA throughout the entire relocation process. We are ready to welcome the ERS and NIFA teams and introduce them to KC’s incredible culture, robust scientific community and unprecedented access to the farm, agribusiness, research and financial customers they serve,” said Kansas City Area Development Council President and CEO Tim Cowden.


Both ERS and NIFA are key research arms of USDA, currently located in the Washington, D.C. area. Secretary Perdue launched an effort to relocate these agencies outside of the Washington, D.C., region.


Item to note:

·         On May 21, 2019, Sen. Moran led a bipartisan, bicameral delegation of federal lawmakers from Kansas and Missouri in urging Sec. Perdue to select Kansas City area as headquarters for ERS and NIFA.