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Moving From DC to KC

Despite pushback, two US Department of Agriculture research departments are moving to the Kansas City area, the Washington Post reports.

The agency announced last August that it was shifting USDA's Economic Research Service to be part of the Office of the Chief Economist, and that the ERS and National Institute of Food and Agriculture would then be moved outside Washington, DC. Critics, though, argued that moving these research agencies outside DC — USDA was then considering moving them to Kansas City, Raleigh, or parts of Indiana — would limit their effectiveness.

The Washington Post now says 550 positions at the ERS and NIFA are to move to Kansas City by the end of the fiscal year. This, USDA says, will save the agency $300 million over 15 years. "The Kansas City Region has proven itself to be hub for all things agriculture and is a booming city in America's heartland," USDA Secretary Sonny Purdue says in a statement.

Critics still say the move will adversely affect the agencies, the Post notes. "This is not just a change of address," Jack Payne, the University of Florida's senior vice president for agriculture, tells it. "It cuts NIFA off from the collaboration with other federal funding agencies in DC that are its major partners."