Kansas, Missouri members applaud new Midwest location for USDA agencies

U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) on June 13 commended selection of the Kansas City area as the new location for two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies.

Both the Economic Research Service (ERS), which analyzes trends in agriculture, food, the environment and rural America, along with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which makes investments to maintain the long-term viability of agriculture, were chosen by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to move from the Washington, D.C., area to the Kansas City region.

“I’m thrilled that USDA has selected Kansas City to house these critical research agencies,” said Sen. Moran. “It is always positive when our government can operate outside of Washington and closer to the people it serves.”

Kansas City last month became one of three finalists after the USDA received 139 Expressions of Interest from 35 states, according to information provided by Rep. Graves’ office, which noted that the criteria considered factors such as quality of life, costs, workforce and IT infrastructure.

Sen. Moran pointed out that the area includes the animal health corridor that stretches from Manhattan, Kan., to Columbia, Mo., which houses the largest number of animal health companies in the world, including the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.

“Kansas City is an obvious choice, as many other USDA agencies in the area partner closely with stakeholders,” agreed Sen. Roberts. “The vital research that will occur at the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility and already occurs throughout the KC animal health corridor makes Kansas City a natural fit. I am pleased that USDA recognizes the rich resources the heartland provides.”

Sen. Blunt said that relocating the agencies also will bring hundreds of good-paying jobs to the area.

“Secretary Perdue made the right choice in selecting Kansas City, which is a great place to live and work,” said Sen. Blunt. “The challenges and opportunities have never been greater than they will be in the next 25 years. These research agencies do great work and will be at the cutting edge of agriculture and well located for assistance and examples as they do their job.”

Rep. Graves added that the relocation of the USDA “underscores the quality of life that we have here and the economic value that the Midwest brings to the table.”

Rep. Graves also said that the move will save American taxpayers “an incredible amount of money in the process.”