Jefferson City Today, Governor Mike Parson joined U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Senator Roy Blunt in Kansas City, Missouri, to tour the new home of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) agencies at 805 Pennsylvania Avenue.
“Secretary Perdue has shown strong leadership from day one at USDA, especially when he announced his plan to move these agencies to the Heartland,” Governor Parson said. “Missouri welcomes the ERS and NIFA team members, as well as their families, with open arms. Our agriculture, economic development, and government communities are ready to support USDA as they complete their transition to Kansas City.”
“It was great to be in Kansas City with Secretary Perdue, Governor Parson, Mayor Lucas, Representative Marshall, and state officials to tour the site that will be home to ERS and NIFA,” Senator Blunt said. “Bringing these research agencies to Kansas City will benefit the entire region and all of the farmers and ranchers who help drive our nation’s ag industry. With the site selection finalized, I’m glad we’re another step closer to making this move a success.”
The move from Washington, D.C., will bring an estimated 253 agriculture jobs paying an average of $120,000 at ERS and 323 agriculture jobs paying an average of $116,000 at NIFA to the Kansas City area. Within 300 miles of Kansas City are 13 land-grant universities, as well as top research universities that have graduated more than 150 PhDs in agriculture-related fields in recent years.
“The Kansas City region is agriculture workforce ready,” Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn said. “While we are excited about the opportunities for these agencies to partner with our farms, ranches, universities, and agribusinesses, I am motivated to see some of our homegrown agriculture talent find great career opportunities right here in Missouri. It’s exciting that our state can give the next generation of agriculture another chance to stay rooted in the Midwest.”
Kansas City was identified as an ideal location for ERS and NIFA employees because of the region’s affordability, capacity for growth, easy commutes, and extraordinary livability among other factors.
“More than 200 partners came together to support the Kansas City region in its bid for USDA,” Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon said. “That speaks volumes not only to the significance and impact of this project for the region, but also to Missouri’s ability to work as a team to create economic opportunities for citizens in this area and across our state.”
What Missouri agriculture is saying:
“Kansas City, Missouri, is the heart of American agriculture,” Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst said. “Growing USDA’s presence here is a no-brainer – public servants should live and work among the people they serve. Missouri’s farmers welcome NIFA and ERS to our state and look forward to working with them.”
“On behalf of more than 45 agricultural groups that comprise our collaborative organization, we congratulate USDA on their move of ERS and NIFA to Kansas City,” said Missouri Farmers Care Chairman and Missouri Corn Growers Association CEO Gary Marshall. “Missouri is home to a diverse agriculture landscape, making it an ideal location for the agencies to be close to the farmers they serve. We welcome Secretary Sonny Perdue and the ERS and NIFA teams to their new home in the Heartland.”
“This move makes sense, and that’s what people deserve from government,” Missouri Cattlemen’s Association President Bobby Simpson said. “We are blessed to have leaders at the federal and state levels who are service oriented and put people over politics.”
“ERS and NIFA play key roles in our agricultural research, education, and extension services,” Missouri Pork Association Chairman Marcus Belshe said. “This relocation to the Kansas City area captures a unique opportunity to enhance those roles while better serving farmers and rural communities.”
“It’s a win-win for farmers to have better access across USDA, and bringing ERS and NIFA to the Midwest creates stronger opportunities for partnerships and collaboration on research, education, and outreach,” said Missouri Soybean Association CEO Gary Wheeler. “Kansas City has great proximity to leaders in animal health, plant science, agricultural technology, and innovation. We’re proud to support Secretary Perdue and so many others’ efforts to bring USDA ERS and NIFA to Kansas City, central to their constituents, farmers, and rural communities.”
“We are looking forward to strengthening our relationship with NIFA and ERS as they make the move to Kansas City,” said University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Dean Christopher Daubert. “This presents a great opportunity for faculty, staff, and students in agriculture.”
Missouri agriculture is an $88.4 billion industry and remains the state's number one economic driver. To learn more, visit agriculture.mo.gov.