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USDA Offices Chose Kansas City Over Indiana

Sonny Perdue

The 31st Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

The Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) offices will move to the Kansas City Region, according to an announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Indiana had been trying to lure those offices to the Hoosier State.

“I am extremely proud of Indiana’s efforts to pursue USDA’s headquarter divisions. Our economic development teams worked around the clock with key partners to create a superior proposal and coordinated our efforts with leaders throughout the state," Governor Eric Holcomb said in a Statement.

State officials would not comment on why negotiations fell short.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says moving these offices away from Washington D.C. will help them provide better services to farmers.

But critics say it will do just the opposite, especially if experienced NIFA and ERS staffers can't relocate to Kansas City.

Senior Policy analyst with the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy Steve Suppan says these offices provide vital data to agriculture extensions around the country.

“What is the most effective way to provide federal support to school lunch and school breakfast programs, for informing consumers about best nutritional practices," Suppan says.

He says he thinks the move is an attempt by the Trump Administration to suppress data that contradicts administration policy.

"You need to do some scenario analysis and projections, for example on the market facilitation programs, resulting in the tariff retaliation against the United States," Suppan says.

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE) sent a letter to the USDA asking for a cost analysis of the move.

They've requested a response by June 19th.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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