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Limit of Relevance

Critics tell NPR that the push to relocate some US Department of Agriculture agencies that do research outside of Washington, DC, would limit their effectiveness.

Last August, Secretary Sunny Perdue announced that the USDA's Economic Research Service would be shifted to fall under the auspices of the Office of the Chief Economist and that the ERS and National Institute of Food and Agriculture and be moved outside DC. "It's been our goal to make USDA the most effective, efficient, and customer-focused department in the entire federal government," Perdue said in a statement at the time.

According to NPR, USDA has now whittled down the list of prospective sites for these agencies to three locations: the Kansas City metro area, the Research Triangle Park region near Raleigh, NC, and different parts of Indiana.

But some argue that the move is being driven "hostility toward science," NPR writes. It notes that the Trump Administration has sought both staff and funding cuts at the department, though Congress has pushed back on those efforts. Ricardo Salvador from the Union of Concerned Scientists tells it that some of the agencies' research findings conflict with political agendas and moving the agencies away from Washington will make them less relevant.