JEFFERSON CITY — The United States Department of Agriculture announced Thursday, Oct. 31, it signed a lease for permanent office space at 805 Pennsylvania Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri, to serve as the new site for its Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture Policy agencies.
U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Missouri), Josh Hawley (Missouri), Pat Roberts (Kansas) and Jerry Moran (Kansas); U.S. Representatives Emanuel Cleaver II (Missouri), Sam Graves (Missouri), Vicky Hartzler (Missouri), Sharice Davids (Kansas), Ron Estes (Kansas), Roger Marshall (Kansas) and Steve Watkins (Kansas); Gov. Mike Parson; and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas welcomed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement.
The move will locate the agencies closer to constituencies and bring hundreds of high-paying jobs to the Kansas City region.
“We are thrilled that the USDA is moving its ERS and NIFA agencies to the heartland, closer to the hardworking farmers they serve,” Parson said. “We appreciate the commitment and support of Secretary Perdue, Senator Blunt and the large Kansas City coalition, including Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, to grow and strengthen the entire Kansas City region. USDA’s investment will benefit both Missouri and Kansas for years to come.”
As the state’s number one economic driver, agriculture is a multi-billion dollar industry in Missouri boasting more than 100,000 farms covering 28 million acres.
“USDA’s decision to move two key agencies to Missouri will bolster the state’s already strong and unique position as a leader in the agriculture industry,” Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon said. “We look at this as an opportunity that will benefit the larger Kansas City region and help Missouri and surrounding states market and grow one of our top sectors.
According to Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn, almost 400,000 Missourians work in agriculture today.
“These hardworking Missourians form the backbone of our economy,” Chinn said. “There are very few states that can say they have the same access to the universities, infrastructure and now federal support that we have that contribute so much to the innovation of food production in the U.S.”
Lucas said months of bipartisan regional efforts went into getting Kansas City selected to house USDA’s ERS and NIFA agencies.
“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. “I look forward to welcoming these employees to Kansas City.”
“This has been an incredible project with an amazing amount of hard work by so many partners,” Missouri Partnership CEO Subash Alias said. “The coordination, creativity and innovation that was critical to competing for this significant investment and job creation is a testament to the robust agtech ecosystem that stretches across Missouri, as well as to our commitment to finding real solutions for companies looking to invest and grow.”
Blunt called it “a great day for the entire Kansas City region.”
“I’ve been proud to advocate for the USDA move and finalizing the site selection marks a huge step forward,” Blunt said. “Bringing these two important agriculture research agencies closer to the people they serve and the leading research institutions that support their mission is the right move. There are tremendous opportunities and challenges ahead for the U.S. agriculture industry. In farm states like ours, ERS and NIFA can have a big impact on how farmers and ranchers operate every day and how they’ll move into the future. We’re glad to have them joining the more than 5,000 USDA employees and contractors who already call our area home. I look forward to continuing to work with my congressional colleagues, Secretary Perdue, Governor Parson, Mayor Lucas, and local officials and stakeholders to make this move a success.”
Hawley said that moving these agencies to the heartland will help policymakers better collaborate with the agriculture community they serve.
“The Kansas City region is home to some of the hardest working farmers and ranchers in the country and is a great place to raise a family,” Hawley said. “Today’s announcement ensures that Missouri agriculture will continue to be a leader in feeding the world for years to come.”
Hartzler said it was an honor to take part in the process and is excited to welcome the USDA facility to the heartland.
“I’m thrilled that the Department of Agriculture has chosen Missouri to host the ERS and NIFA,” Hartzler said. “Missouri is once again showing that it is open for business, welcoming these important agencies with a qualified workforce, lower costs of living and a business climate that allows for families to thrive.”