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U.S. Department of Agriculture Selects the Kansas City Region for Two Key Agencies

by Megan Segura | Jul 17, 2019

Kansas City, Mo. – The Kansas City Area Development Council and its regional partners are proud to announce that the Kansas City area will become the new home of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The USDA team is evaluating multiple Class A office properties in Kansas and Missouri for its 120,000-sq.-ft. space, which will house both agencies and 568 employees, and expects to be operational this fall.

The Kansas City region was selected for its existing concentration of USDA employees and operations, the more than 150 federal agencies in the area, proximity to 13 land grant universities, and central location in the agricultural heart of the country. This concentration is enhanced by the area’s research capabilities and industry-led initiatives like the KC Animal Health Corridor.

“Because of Kansas City’s 100+ year legacy of leadership in the agriculture and animal health industries, this decision feels like a homecoming for the USDA,” said Tim Cowden, president and CEO, Kansas City Area Development Council. “We welcome the ERS and NIFA teams and look forward to introducing them to KC’s incredible culture, robust scientific community and unprecedented access to the research, farm, agribusiness and financial customers they serve.”

Within 300 miles of Kansas City are 13 land grant universities—including agriculture research giants Kansas State University and the University of Missouri—more than any other U.S. location. The National Bio and Agro Defense Facility, the USDA’s state-of-the-art biocontainment laboratory for the study of diseases threatening the nation’s animal agricultural industries, is opening in Manhattan, Kansas, in 2022.

“With 56 percent of total worldwide animal health, diagnostics and pet food sales, the Kansas City region is home to more than 300 animal health companies, representing the largest concentration in the world,” said Kimberly Young, president, KC Animal Health Corridor. “We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the USDA to advance cutting edge discoveries, develop the next generation of agriculture talent and ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply.”

Kansas City is already home to more than a dozen USDA agency operations. More than 5,000 USDA employees and contractors work in Kansas City for operations such as the Office of Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service and the Farm Service Agency. The Kansas City area also boasts 35,000 federal employees, and a robust Federal Executive Board serving the metro’s 150 federal agencies.

KCADC partnered with more than 300 KC area organizations, community partners, civic groups and elected officials to attract these two coveted USDA offices to the KC region. See the full list.

Quotes from Federal Officials

Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, said, “I am excited to hear USDA selected Kansas City as the new location for the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Agricultural research is a critical function of USDA and I am committed to ensuring we continue to support and strengthen the research mission that our US producers rely on. Kansas City is an obvious choice, as many other USDA agencies in the area partner closely with stakeholders. The vital research that will occur at the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF) and already occurs throughout the KC Animal Health Corridor makes Kansas City a natural fit. I am pleased that USDA recognizes the rich resources the heartland provides.”

“Today’s announcement is great news for the Kansas City region and our state. These agencies will bring hundreds of good-paying jobs to the area and enhance Missouri’s role as a national leader in ag research. Secretary Perdue made the right choice in selecting Kansas City, which is a great place to live and work. The challenges and opportunities have never been greater than they will be in the next 25 years. These research agencies do great work, and will be at the cutting edge of agriculture and well located for assistance and examples as they do their job,” said U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.)

“After months of advocating to Secretary Perdue that NIFA and ERS ought to be relocated to the Kansas City area, I’m pleased that USDA has selected Kansas City to house these critical research agencies,” said Sen. Jerry Moran (KS). “The animal health corridor, stretching from Manhattan, Kansas to Columbia, Missouri, is the largest concentration of animal health companies in the world, and Kansas is also the home of the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility – which is soon to be our nation’s foremost animal disease research facility. These factors will complement NIFA’s and ERS’s research capabilities, and any local partnerships USDA engages in will be met with a talented local workforce that will complement USDA’s research initiatives and capabilities.”

“It is always positive when our government can operate outside of Washington and closer to the people it serves, and I am certain that the decision to relocate NIFA and ERS to Kansas City is a good one,” continued Sen. Moran. “I look forward to helping welcome these USDA agencies and employees to Kansas City.”

Quotes from State Officials

“The move will meet the needs of the USDA and benefit Kansas and Missouri. I thank Secretary Perdue, our team at the Kansas Department of Commerce and the Kansas City Area Development Council for its hard in work in making this possible,” said Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly.

Governor Parson said, “Missouri agriculture has unrivaled diversity, access to cutting-edge research at our land grant universities, and a thriving agribusiness environment. By choosing a location close to their farmer-constituent base, these offices will remain rooted in agriculture and, as a result, will be better able to make decisions that serve American agriculture well. ”

About the Economic Research Service (ERS)
The mission of USDA's Economic Research Service is to anticipate trends and emerging issues in agriculture, food, the environment, and rural America and to conduct high-quality, objective economic research to inform and enhance public and private decision making. Learn more.

About National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provides leadership and funding for programs that advance agriculture-related sciences. It invests in and supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. Learn more.

The Kansas City Area Development Council serves the 18-county, two-state Kansas City area by marketing the region's business and lifestyle assets to companies around the world. Working closely with its 50+ state, county and community partners the region has attracted more than 60,000 new jobs over its 40-year history. KCADC also leads the efforts behind the KC Animal Health Corridor, TeamKC and KC SmartPort. www.thinkkc.com  

About the KC Animal Health Corridor
Companies with a business location in the KC Animal Health Corridor account for more than half of the sales generated by the global animal health industry. The Corridor, anchored by Manhattan, Kansas, and Columbia, Missouri, is home to more than 300 animal health companies, representing the largest concentration in the world. For more information, visit KCanimalhealth.com.

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