Kansas City selected as new home for ERS, NIFA
On June 13 the USDA announced it will relocate the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to the Kansas City Region.
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. State and local governments offered generous relocation incentives packages totaling more than $26 million. The USDA says this relocation will give it the opportunity to attract a diverse staff with training and interest in agriculture. To learn more about USDA's Cost Benefit Analysis, visit https://gfb.ag/USDAERSNIFAcostbenefit.
Critics of the relocation, which include members of the U.S. House, scientific and farm groups, say the agencies benefit from being in D.C., where they can collaborate with other federal scientific and statistical agencies. The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents ERS employees, said ERS employees greeted the announcement “with no enthusiasm.” ERS and NIFA employees voted to unionize in May and June amid the plan to relocate the agencies.
In addition, USDA announced it will not move forward with the plans to realign with the Office of the Chief Economist. ERS will remain under the Research, Education, and Economics mission area.