DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A couple USDA departments are moving out of Washington D.C. and interested cities and universities are vying to be the new headquarters.
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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced an extension of the deadline for expressions of interest in the new locations of the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
Perdue wants both departments to move by the end of 2019 and has moved the deadline to October 15th because of considerable interest.
USDA gave the following reasons for the move:
1. To improve USDA’s ability to attract and retain highly qualified staff with training and interests in agriculture, many of whom come from land-grant universities. USDA has experienced significant turnover in some positions, and it has been difficult to recruit employees to the Washington, DC area, particularly given the high cost of living and long commutes.
2. To place these important USDA resources closer to many of stakeholders, most of whom live and work far from the Washington, DC area.
3. To benefit the American taxpayers. There will be significant savings on employment costs and rent, which will allow more employees to be retained in the long run, even in the face of tightening budgets.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority says Iowa would make perfect sense as the future home for the ERS and NIFA and are working with stakeholders to prepare expressions of interest for the deadline.