The USDA’s Deputy Undersecretary for Research says the transfer of two research agencies to Kansas City is complete and hiring is underway. Scott Hutchins testified at a hearing this morning in Washington, D.C. before the U.S. House Ag subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler

“Be assured that we are committed to both ERS and NIFA and will thrive in their new location and continue their service to U.S. agriculture,” says Hutchins.

He addressed the loss of employees who elected not to move to Kansas City.

“While it’s true that we have lost some excellent talent in both of those agencies, we have every confidence that we’ll be able to replace that,” says Hutchins.

West-central Missouri Republican Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler agreed.

“Being in the Heartland, we are very excited about this move and concur with you that we have the personnel that will be able to fill these positions,” says Hartzler.

He says being close to the agencies’ stakeholders is really important.

“Our farmers and ranchers support it,” says Hartzler. “I represent the University of Missouri and we are co-hosting a jobs fair there with you in November.”

Hutchins says the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture employees who have moved are happy with the region because of lower housing prices and less commute times. Hutchins says the $300 million in cost savings from the move will be reinvested into the agencies. One-third of ERS employees will remain in Washington.

By Julie Harker of Brownfield Ag News

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