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USDA steps closer to Kansas City move with downtown lease

   

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made its move to Missouri official as it has signed a lease in Kansas City for two agencies. 

The federal department announced in June it would relocate two USDA labs — the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Policy (NIFA) — to the Kansas City area. The move is expected to create hundreds of jobs. 

The USDA has signed a lease at 805 Pennsylvania Avenue in Kansas City for the agencies, it announced in a news release Thursday. 

“We’re excited to announce ERS and NIFA’s new, permanent home in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, and provide clarity on commute times and work-life balance for our employees,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement. “The region is not only a hub for agriculture in America’s heartland, but is also already proving to be a diverse talent pool in proximity to many land-grant and research universities.”  

The USDA had estimated it will see “significant savings” with the move. It touted the savings as a way to allow more funding for research of critical needs — such as rural property and agricultural competitiveness — and for programs and employees to remain retained even in the face of tightening budgets. 

“We are thrilled that the USDA is moving its ERS and NIFA agencies to the heartland, closer to the hardworking farmers they serve,” Gov. Mike Parson said. 

On social media, the Republican governor praised President Donald Trump for “fulfilling his promise to drain the D.C. swamp.” 

“This is a move that has never been done before, and it’s because of the hard work we are doing to make Missouri a great place for opportunity,” Parson said. 

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas lauded the bipartisan efforts that allowed his city to be selected as the agencies’ new home. 

“As an essential part of the animal health corridor, and with several high-caliber research universities and institutions nearby, I know that our regional workforce stands ready to assist these agencies in their vital research efforts,” Lucas said in a statement. “I look forward to welcoming these employees to Kansas City.” 

In total, 568 jobs are expected to be relocated to the Kansas City region. The Kansas City proposal beat out 135 other bids.

Alisha Shurr contributed to this report.