WASHINGTON, D.C (KWCH) The U.S. Department of Agriculture has chosen Kansas City as the new location for the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue made the announcement Thursday morning. Gov. Laura Kelly said the move will bring nearly 600 high-paying federal jobs to the area.
“This is a significant win for Kansas and Missouri,” Kelly said.
The move will put USDA employees closer to farmers and other agricultural interests such as the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, the single largest concentration of animal health ventures in the world. The move from Washington to a lower-cost site also would save taxpayer dollars.
Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) applauded the decision.
“Agricultural research is a critical function of USDA, and I am committed to ensuring we continue to support and strengthen the research mission that our U.S. producers rely on. Kansas City is an obvious choice, as many other USDA agencies in the area partner closely with stakeholders,” said Sen. Roberts. “The vital research that will occur at the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF) 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.”
Blunt said the agencies will bring hundreds of high-paying jobs to the area and enhance Missouri’s role as a national leader in Ag research.
"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," Blunt said.
“After months of advocating to Secretary Perdue that NIFA and ERS ought to be relocated to the Kansas City area, I’m thrilled that USDA has selected Kansas City to house these critical research agencies,” said Sen. Moran. “The animal health corridor, stretching from Manhattan, Kansas to Columbia, Missouri, is the largest concentration of animal health companies in the world, and Kansas is also the home of the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility – and today’s decision further bolsters Kansas City’s status as a national leader in the ag industry. It is always positive when our government can operate outside of Washington and closer to the people it serves, and I am certain that the decision to relocate NIFA and ERS to Kansas City is a good one. I look forward to helping welcome these USDA agencies and employees to Kansas City.”
The ERS jobs pay an average of $120,000 per year, and NIFA jobs between $110,000 and $190,000.