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USDA Research Relocation and Reorganization: Perspectives from Former USDA Chief Scientists and Administrators
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in August caught Congress and USDA stakeholders by surprise with a proposal to relocate the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) outside of the Washington, DC area and to move ERS from the USDA research arm to a policy arm.
The proposal has raised many questions: Will there be a chance for the USDA partner community to comment? Was the partner and stakeholder community previously consulted? Why the speed of action? What is Congress’s role? What is the problem being addressed? Many concerns have also been raised: Will NIFA and ERS relevance and reach be impacted by being moved away from key audiences and policymakers? Will ERS’s standing as a world premier economics research institution be retained with the expected staff attrition for those not willing to move their families? What will be the impact of ERS’s perception as an independent, trusted source of information and analysis be impacted by its move to a USDA policy office?
The panelists will address the many questions and concerns raised about the USDA proposal; address viewer questions; and suggest actions for Congress, USDA, and viewers.