Editorial credit: Mark Van Scyoc / Shutterstock.com USDA hq image number 475579099

Federal scientists pen letter to Congress opposing USDA reorg

More than 1,000 scientists and researchers have joined efforts to express their opposition to a plan to relocate two U.S. Department of Agriculture offices outside of the nation's capital.

“Given the scale of this proposal and the importance of science-based agriculture research and education to our nation's agricultural economy, we urge you to delay the reorganization until Congress and stakeholders have been appropriately briefed, and have been given the opportunity for input into the process,” the letter sent to several key members of Congress and signed by 1,100 USDA scientists and researchers, states.

In August, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced plans to move the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture outside of the D.C. area by the end of 2019 in an effort to improve customer service and strengthen offices and programs.

Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) are requesting that the plan be further investigated and are questioning the legality and rationale for USDA’s proposal.

The also group contends that the agency has provided little evidence that the relocation would result in any cost-saving or will improve recruiting and retention.

“[R]relocating NIFA outside of capitol area could hamper the ability of the agency to raise the profile of agricultural research, extension, and education, by preventing collaboration with a broad base of stakeholders and federal agencies, many of whom are based in the capitol area,” the wrote.

“The interdisciplinary research and collaboration that NIFA currently engages in with the Department of Defense; the National Science Foundation; the National Institutes of Health; the Office of Science, Technology and Policy; and myriad other entities in Washington, DC, would also be threatened or even stopped, negatively impacting stakeholders across the country,” the letter continued.

Read the full letter here.

Reader comments

Mon, Oct 15, 2018

Civil service has been bashed by Carter, Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama and now the current occupant of the white House. Congress and senate are also at fault. Both parties do not give any positive consideration to the hard working civil servants. Now if they decided to get rid of management bloat (95%) and allow employees to do their jobs better this would benefit the nation in many ways. Management minions back stab, take bogus trips, and feel they are entitled to a day without any real work, The real work done is by the employees who often get no recognition what so ever. Time for change yes! will it hapopen? No

Tue, Oct 9, 2018 Woodbridge, VA

It is totally amazing how outsiders not located within the Wasington, DC metro area profess to know more about the working class of Americans actually working for the U.S. Federal Government. 1) we don't sit around the office or visit the parks all day drink and sipping on coffee. 2) Like you, we have families with debt, doctor, food, housing and medical bills to pay. 3) the TV media never interview us nor do they ask for our truthful opinions about what the wheels turning in Washington. 4) our salaries are average to most americans when in take in the cost for the high rate/cost for living in the Washington, DC area. 5) It is the politicians, not the hard working people that protect your streets, make sure your water and air is clean, maintaining your communication services that you depend on to keep this country running; yes! even including the military. So, before you make your comments known, please get your facts strait. PERIOD. The most common problem with most people and what is dangerous to this country is conscientious stupidity and sincere ignorance.

Thu, Oct 4, 2018

Your cogent, fact based arguement is highly compelling. Corrupt cabals should definitely be decentralized I

Thu, Oct 4, 2018 Bernard Coxhead Deforest WI

The best idea that has come in decades: America is long over due to start cleaning out that sewer called Washing, D.C. It serves noone to keep our departments cneteralized in a corrupt special intrest cabal

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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