Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week defended every aspect of his proposal to move some Agriculture Department offices out of the Washington Area. USDA has plans to place the Economic Research Service under the Office of the Chief Economist and to move most National Institute for Food and Agriculture employees out of Washington.
In a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee leadership, Perdue said he hopes to announce the location to which most ERS and NIFA employees would be moved by January, and to open operations in their new locations by summer. Perdue sent the letter as opposition to the plan started to intensify.
This week, the American Statistical Association published links to sign-on letters to Congress opposing the changes to ERS. In his letter, Perdue acknowledged that both ERS and NIFA interact with Congress and other Washington officials, and said: “We are committed to retaining the necessary staff from each agency in the D.C. area to continue to fulfill these important roles.”