The relocation of two US Department of Agriculture agencies from Washington, DC, to the Kansas City area has delayed the publication of research reports, halted studies, and prevented the release of research funds, according to the Washington Post.
In August of last year, USDA Secretary Sunny Purdue announced that the USDA's Economic Research Service would become part of the Office of the Chief Economist and that the ERS and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture would be moved outside DC. This, they said, would save the department money and bring the agency closer to the communities it serves, but critics argued that the agencies would be less effective at such a distance from DC. Many employees, NPR reported in July, have also declined to make the move.
The Post now reports that the move and loss of staff has had other effects. According to Politico, a memo from the USDA identified 38 research reports from the ERS that may be delayed because of this decrease in staffing levels. In addition, the Post says other reports that were in earlier stages may be scrapped due to the lack of staff. It further reports at NIFA, there are no employees left who could approve grant paperwork or give the OK to release funds.