The U.S. House opened debate on a mammoth federal spending bill, including money for the USDA, on Tuesday under the threat of a presidential veto of the $322 billion bill. The White House said it opposed half a dozen USDA provisions in the bill, including language that would preclude relocating two research agencies to Kansas City and implementing a new inspection system for hog-slaughter plants.
The USDA failed to follow federal guidelines when it determined it would save money by moving two research agencies to Kansas City, said a review by the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association on Wednesday.
In a highly anticipated announcement, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Thursday that the Kansas City region would be the new home of the agency’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Economic Research Service.
Ten months after he announced the initiative, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will meet with USDA employees privately Thursday and then announce to the public the new homes for two research agencies now sited in Washington.
If a House Appropriations subcommittee has its way, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue would be barred from moving two USDA research agencies out of Washington.
Employees of the Economic Research Service voted in a landslide to unionize on Thursday in balloting that was an unofficial referendum on Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s plan to move the agency out of Washington in the coming months. A vote on unionization is set for June at the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, also slated for relocation.
The finalists in Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue's plan to move two research agencies out of Washington include "multiple" undisclosed sites in Indiana, a symbol of complaints of hidden motives and scanty material to support the move. Separately, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, a perennial USDA research partner, said it feared relocation would damage the effectiveness of the grant-making National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
The United States is headed for the fifth year in a row of lower-than-average increases in grocery prices, part of a longer trend of smaller and less volatile changes in food inflation, said two USDA economists.
The USDA is working briskly to move two scientific agencies out of Washington, an aide to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told lawmakers on Wednesday, despite skepticism on Capitol Hill about whether the relocations are justified. “We anticipate we will have a site recommendation to the secretary in early May,” she said.