Report: Most USDA employees slated to be relocated will decline

Most Department of Agriculture employees slated to be relocated to the Midwest will decline, according to a staff tally conducted by the Economic Research Service.

Last month, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that USDA will move over 600 employees from two key D.C.-area offices to the Midwest—specifically, to the Kansas City area; the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Local 3403 of the American Federation of Government Employees along with ERS conducted a survey that found that four out of five of the 200 employees being reassigned to Kansas City will not go.

An AFGE statement: “Given the aggressive timeline to move all positions before the end of the current fiscal year, AFGE Local 3403 estimates that two out of three employees are certain they will decline relocation...The Information Services Division may experience nearly 100 percent attrition or no one relocating. The Resource & Rural Economics Division may experience more than 90 percent attrition, with the Food Economics Division experiencing 89 percent attrition. The Market and Trade Economics Division and Office of Administrator could anticipate three out of four employees to decline to relocate.”

And many of those remaining employees say they are seeking new employment because they are scheduled to be reassigned to a yet-to-be determined new facility within the National Capital Region.

“The current and projected attrition will curtail research data products that encompass commodity estimates, agricultural sector forecasts, food and farm economic and statistical indicators for U.S. agriculture, conservation, and food policy and markets,” Local 3403 Acting Vice President Kevin Hunt said in the statement.

Read the full report and statement here.

Reader comments

Tue, Jul 9, 2019 Landy

There isn't much demand for agricultural services in the city of D.C, is there? As a federal employee who observes spending waste on a daily basis, I support ANY effort to reduce expenditures. Why should the govt pay employees extra to live in D.C., when there's no ag work in that city? The Ag employees should be closer to their constituents. As a fed employee who moved recently, I know that "paid moves" result in CONSIDERABLE expense to the employee. The employee pays far more in taxes than they would've spent if they'd self-moved. So I believe the 600 employees are doing the right thing in declining. As a practical fiscal conservative, I believe that the unfortunate folks who live in K.C. can fill the vacancies the D.C. employees reject. I like that the govt is choosing to employee employees in the "heartland". This is good for the nation's economy. The city of D.C. isn't ethical, and if govt wants to operate efficiently, they need to move operations out of that corrupt place.

Wed, Jul 3, 2019 mm

I suspect the impetus behind demolishing the economic services of USDA is because if you don't measure something, then nobody else can tell you you're failing. I fear we are entering the age of Potemkin statistics.

Wed, Jul 3, 2019

There is no problem here. There are plenty of willing, educated people already living in Kansas City that would be more than happy to accept a government job with good insurance!

Mon, Jul 1, 2019 Retired IT Specialist Kansas City

With Sprint possibly merging with t-Mobile a lot of IT folks in the Kansas City area will be or are looking for new jobs. I think there will be plenty of IT workers in our area to take those jobs, many with govt experience.

Mon, Jul 1, 2019

This should not have been a surprise to long time federal employees. Maybe this is just another of the death by 1000 cuts that the Sec Ag is using to destroy the Peoples Agency.

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