Land-grant universities and other organizations are expressing concerns over the administration’s plan to move Department of Agriculture agencies out of the nation’s capital.
USDA recently announced it will move the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture out of Washington, D.C., to a more “cost-effective” location closer to farmers. The Public and Land-Grant Universities Board on Agriculture Assembly says the move “raises important questions that need to be addressed,” according to the Hagstrom Report. Other organizations are calling on USDA and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to release the analysis of the cost savings the department is touting.
The plan will move more than 600 jobs from Washington, D.C. to a site yet to be considered. The Housing Assistance Council counters that the main customers to the Economic Research Service are congressional members and staff, USDA policy officials, and researchers at rural-focused groups, many of which are located in Washington. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition charges further, suggesting that the move “fundamentally endangers, our country’s capacity for agricultural research and development.”