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USDA Eyes New ERS, NIFI Locations by May

The Department of Agriculture will release it’s shortlist of potential spots for relocating the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture “in the coming days.” USDA is working towards deciding on the final relocation spots by early May, according to Politico. An official from USDA told Congress this week that, under the plan, the Economic Research Service would keep 76 jobs in Washington and relocate 253 positions, while the National Institute of Food and Agriculture would retain just 20 employees in Washington, D.C., and move 315 to the new site. However, those numbers are based on currently appropriated positions. President Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget calls for cutting the full-time ERS workforce in half, from about 330 positions to 160. USDA will also provide a cost-benefit analysis with the final recommendation. USDA maintains that taxpayers would benefit from the proposal because USDA would save money on rent by moving outside of the nation’s capital. The agency also says employees would benefit from shorter commute times and lower housing prices.