May 28, 2019

Move It Sonny: It just makes sense


Secretary Sonny Perdue has shown strong leadership by proposing that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture move out of Washington, D.C. and closer to the farmers and ranchers they serve. From the very beginning, the agriculture community has overwhelmingly supported the move. It’s a common-sense approach to co-locate the agriculture industry and the agencies – creating a stronger future for all of American agriculture.

As farmers ourselves, we were thrilled to hear that Secretary Perdue wanted to relocate ERS and NIFA. It’s critical that our farmers and ranchers have better access to the tools they create, and that our agencies develop a better understanding of what tools our farmers and ranchers need.

USDA offices have found successful homes outside of Washington, D.C. The Midwest is home to the Risk Management Agency Headquarters, Farm Service Agency Operations Offices, the National Agriculture Statistics Service Operations Division, the Agriculture Marketing Service Offices and soon to be home to the National Agro-Biodefense Facility. By choosing locations close to their farmer-constituent base, each of these offices have remained rooted in agriculture and, as a result, are better able to make decisions that serve American agriculture well.

In the Midwest, we have unrivaled agricultural diversity and world-class agricultural research right in our backyard. Kansas City is a half days drive from five land-grant universities tasked specifically with agricultural research. In Kansas City, the Animal Health Corridor boasts more than 300 animal health companies and St. Louis is home to the more plant scientists than any city in the world. Our universities are graduating students with degrees in agriculture economics & business, plant science and animal science, creating a workforce that’s ready for both agencies to thrive.

Agriculture states are keen to partner with agencies like ERS and NIFA on projects to ensure the next generation of agriculture is strong. In our opinion, the opportunities for new, innovative partnerships are immense. From agriculture organizations and agribusinesses to governments and universities, we are ready to show our full support for ERS and NIFA regardless of where their new home may be.


Mike Beam, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture

Chris Chinn, Missouri Director of Agriculture