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 …

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 expected agency relocation would drive away employees

With the USDA on the cusp of moving two research agencies to Kansas City, a senior official said on Thursday that massive staff turnover — so far, 250 employees have declined to leave Washington — is par for the course for cross-country relocations. Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow offered a different take: “This is not a relocation. It’s a demolition.”

USDA says agencies are going to Kansas City regardless of staff refusals

Newly hired USDA employees will begin work in Kansas City on Monday as part of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s decision to move two research agencies out of Washington. The USDA said it would use “an aggressive hiring strategy” to replace the 250 staffers who declined the offer to move halfway across the United States.

Landlord wants a chance to keep NIFA in Washington

The government has extended the deadline for bids from Kansas City real estate companies looking to house two USDA scientific agencies, while the current landlord for one of those agencies contests the relocation, reported Politico.

White House targets ag provisions in veto threat of mammoth funding bill

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.