House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations Chair Marcia L. Fudge, and Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Chair Stacey Plaskett issued the following statements in response to today’s announced relocation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture from Washington, D.C., to the Kansas City area.
“This announced move points to a troubling history of non-transparent decision-making at USDA,” said Fudge. “USDA has rushed this process, failed to give sufficient time for input and feedback, and disregarded the very public opposition of those who rely on the products that ERS and NIFA produce. The good-governance failures represented by this process should give everyone pause. I am much more concerned about the hundreds of ERS and NIFA employees who now have as little as 30 days to decide whether they want to uproot their families based on the whim of the Secretary.”
“Today’s announcement is a solution in search of a problem,” said Plaskett. “I have heard directly from farmers, ranchers, and agriculture researchers who are opposed to this relocation effort. These stakeholders never asked for these agencies to move, and USDA has yet to make a compelling case for how this action would benefit agriculture research. Doubly concerning is the fact that stakeholders have not been given the opportunity for input throughout this process. Staff losses stemming from this move will hinder USDA’s ability to supply our farmers and ranchers with objective scientific information and economic data.”