U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the finalists of 136 Expressions of Interest received from parties in 35 states vying to become the new homes of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
“This short list of locations took into consideration critical factors required to uphold the important missions of ERS and NIFA. We also considered factors important to our employees, such as quality of life,” Secretary Perdue said. “Relocation will help ensure USDA is the most effective, most efficient, and most customer-focused agency in the federal government, allowing us to be closer to our stakeholders and move our resources closer to our customers. Our commitment to the public and our employees is to continue to be transparent as we proceed with our analysis.”
As part of the rigorous site selection process, USDA narrowed the Expressions of Interest list using a set of established criteria defined by USDA, NIFA, and ERS leadership. The criteria included:
- Quality of Life: Subcategory examples include Diversity Index, Residential Housing Costs, Access to Healthcare, and Home and Community Safety Ranking.
- Costs (Capital and Operating): Subcategory examples include Commercial Real Estate Costs, CPI Index, and Wage Costs.
- Workforce: Subcategory examples include Labor Force Growth Rate, Unemployment Rate, and the Labor Force Population.
- Logistics / IT Infrastructure: Subcategory examples include Lodging Availability, Proximity to Customers, and Airport Accessibility.
The top Expressions of Interest were reviewed in detail, and USDA selected a short list of locations offering existing buildings with sufficient space to meet ERS and NIFA requirements. In alphabetical order, these are the top three Expressions of Interest under consideration:
|IN||Multiple||Purdue University, Indiana Economic Development Corporation, State of Indiana|
|KS and MO||Greater Kansas City Region||The Kansas City Area Development Council, The Kansas City Animal Health Corridor|
|NC||Research Triangle Region||NC Research Triangle, Wake County, Durham County and Research Triangle Park|
While not in the top three, these Expressions of Interest in alphabetical order remain under consideration as alternative locations should the top three locations not suit USDA’s needs:
|MO||St. Louis||St. Louis Regional Consortium, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, State of Missouri, Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Partnership|
|WI||Madison||City of Madison, the University of Wisconsin–Madison College of Agricultural & Life Sciences (CALS), University of Wisconsin–Madison Office of University Relations, University Research Park, State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and 910 Mayer, LLC|
Reaction from Kansas Republican Senator Jerry Moran:
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran, member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture – released the following statement after the United States Department of Agriculture announced that Kansas City made the list of finalists to be the next home of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Economic Research Service:
“After months of advocating to Secretary Perdue that these agencies ought to be in the Kansas City area, I’m pleased to see USDA listed Kansas City as a finalist to be the headquarters of these critical agencies. Kansas City is home to a highly-skilled workforce as a result of the state’s premier universities, research institutions, agricultural companies, and industry producer groups, and I am thrilled that it’s a finalist for USDA’s ERS and NIFA. The animal health corridor, stretching from Manhattan, Kansas to Columbia, Missouri, is the largest concentration of animal health companies in the world; our state is also the future home of the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF), the nation’s foremost animal disease research facility.
“The concentration of animal health companies and location of NBAF will not only complement the research capabilities of NIFA and ERS, but have also fostered a talented workforce that will help meet the personnel needs of USDA. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, I will continue advocating to Secretary Purdue and USDA that Kansas City be chosen as ERS and NIFA’s new home.”
Source:USDA and Senator Jerry Moran