Two scientific agencies in the Department of Agriculture will move from Washington to the greater Kansas City region

Nearly 550 positions at the Economic Research Service, a statistical agency, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which funds cutting-edge agricultural science, are expected to move by the end of the federal fiscal year, Sept. 30. USDA estimated the savings at $300 million over 15 years from employment and rent.

Scientists across the country rely on NIFA grants to study topics ranging from climate change and crop genetics to farmland drones. ERS produces statistical reports that influence decisions in corporate boardrooms and in state and federal capitals.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue had unveiled a plan to relocate the two agencies in August, without specifying a site. He called the decision a cost-saving measure and said it would bring them closer to their “stakeholders” in farming regions.

NIFA and ERS workers will join nearly 5,000 other USDA employees in Kansas City, said Cowden, whose group proposed the region to USDA last year.

“The Kansas City Region has proven itself to be hub for all things agriculture and is a booming city in America’s heartland,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement.

The news release did not identify the location of the offices. But Tim Cowden, president and chief executive of the Kansas City Area Development Council, said the agency is evaluating office property on both sides of the Kansas-Missouri border.

Perdue also said the General Services Administration, the agency that manages federal real estate, will begin the process of acquiring office space around July 1.

Republican senators representing Missouri and Kansas welcomed Thursday’s announcement. “We’re home to some of the hardest working farmers in the country, so this is a fantastic decision by the USDA,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said in a statement. Read complete article here: