ERS

USDA finds big pork plants recovered quickly from Covid-19

Outbreaks of Covid-19 at meatpacking plants slashed U.S. hog slaughter rates by 36 percent in late April 2020, but a USDA report found that “regions with large pork processing plants recovered in a couple of months” – similar to regions with small plants. Critics of the highly concentrated meat …

Transplanted USDA agencies will stay in Kansas City, says Vilsack

Despite complaints the Trump administration needlessly uprooted them, two USDA research agencies will stay in Kansas City rather than return to the D.C. area, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. “What we’re trying to do is limit the level of disruption” and rebuild a workforce …

USDA has chronic data issues, experts say

The Department of Agriculture under President Trump has repeatedly rolled out policies and program changes without accurate data, a report from Politico found. From trade war bailouts to cutting food stamp benefits to relocating essential USDA agencies, several members of Congress, experts, and …

With relocation, ERS losing top expert on consolidation

Thanks to the Trump administration’s decision to move the agency out of Washington, the USDA’s Economic Research Service is losing its top expert on market consolidation at a time when declining competition in agriculture is under increased scrutiny from policymakers and government officials.(No paywall)

Few ERS and NIFA replacements as relocation reaches milestone date

When Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Kansas City as the new home for two USDA research agencies, officials laid out an aggressive schedule to have everyone in place by today, the final day of fiscal 2019. The USDA has hired only a comparative handful of workers to stanch staff turnover that could exceed 75 percent and the senior Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee says the disruption is affecting farm bill implementation.

Senate vs. House confrontation looms over relocating ERS and NIFA

The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to approve a bill on Thursday that effectively approves Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s removal of two research agencies to Kansas City from Washington, setting up a clash with House leaders. The $151.7 billion USDA-FDA funding bill includes …

USDA dismisses finding of agency relocation as unconstitutional

The USDA failed to obtain congressional approval before relocating two research agencies to Kansas City this summer, said an inspector general's report on Monday. "The budgetary provisions...requiring committee approval are unconstitutional," responded USDA's lawyers in rejecting the standard Capitol Hill requirement for agencies to notify Congress and receive permission to reprogram expenditures.

Declining investment in public ag research threatens innovation, report says

A new report from Purdue University, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and other groups says that public spending on agricultural research in the United States has plummeted, threatening innovation and public access to information. At the same time, it says, ag research is becoming increasingly privatized.

USDA tries to plug the holes as ERS staff flows away

The USDA is already recruiting employees to replace Economic Research Service staff workers who will not relocate to Kansas City this summer, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday.

USDA announces Kansas City region as new home of NIFA and ERS

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.

NIFA employees vote to unionize by large margin

In the face of a proposed relocation from their longtime base in the nation’s capital, research employees at the USDA overwhelmingly voted to unionize. Eligible workers at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Tuesday voted, 137 to 2, to join the American Federation of Government …

GOP hoots ‘elitist’ as Democrats question USDA’s plan to relocate researchers

Hoping to dissuade Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, farm-state Democrats in Congress asked for a cost-benefit analysis that would justify moving two USDA research agencies out of Washington. Two senior Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee ridiculed the opposition to the relocation as elitism and knee-jerk obstructionism of President Trump.

Come here, ERS and NIFA, say Kansas and Missouri lawmakers

With a USDA decision expected soon, Missouri and Kansas lawmakers said that Kansas City “is ideally located” to be the new home of two research agencies that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue wants to move out of Washington before the end of this year. The Kansas City area is one of three …

Is moving day near for two USDA agencies?

Like a genial bulldozer, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue relentlessly is pushing two scientific agencies out of Washington, with an announcement expected in mid-May of a new home in the heartland. Some mid-level USDA officials believe Kansas City, already the home of the department's commodity procurement office, is the favored site.

USDA tells ERS and NIFA staff who stays and who moves

As part of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s plan to move two research agencies out of the Washington area, officials have given “stay/go” information to employees, said a USDA spokesperson on Tuesday. Three-fourths of Economic Research Service workers will be asked to relocate, said one …

In two ways, lawmakers say ‘no’ to relocation of USDA research agencies

Congress is about to send USDA funding for the rest of the fiscal year to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. It will also send him an unambiguous, although nonbinding, message: Don’t move the Economic Research Service or the National Institute of Food and Agriculture out of Washington.

Capitol Hill pours cold water of relocation of two USDA research agencies

In nearly identical wording, the House and Senate Appropriations committees told the USDA to delay the relocation of two research agencies outside of the Washington area because of insufficient justification of the proposal. The bills, due for votes this week, potentially derail Agriculture …

Inspector general to review USDA relocation of two agencies

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue aims to announce the new homes for two USDA research agencies in early 2019, potentially relocating them as far away as California to save money and make it easier to recruit workers. The inspector general, however, will review whether Perdue can act on his own, announced two lawmakers.

Former federal officials protest moving ERS from Washington

A bipartisan coalition of former federal officials wrote a letter opposing the planned move of USDA's Economic Research Service from Washington, D.C. The move was announced by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in August. Perdue has said the move will save taxpayers money and allow USDA to better recruit from land-grant universities far from Washington.

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