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Kansas City lands two USDA facilities, more than 550 jobs

Posted at 9:29 AM, Jun 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-13 20:05:27-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The United States Department of Agriculture announced Thursday it has selected a bid from the Kansas City region to move two facilities in the area.

The announcement brings the relocation of the USDA’s Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to the Kansas City region, and comes after the region was named a finalist for the facilities last month.

Nearly 600 jobs will be moved to Kansas City as part of the relocation.

Sources told 41 Action News that the federal government is looking at multiple locations for the new offices, including Crown Center, Quality Hill, downtown Kansas City, Missouri, and the Sprint campus in Overland Park.

"This is one of those times where we didn’t have a Kansas, Missouri difference of opinion at all. We worked together as a team," Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts said.

Listen: 41 Files discusses USDA announcement

The move was hailed as a success by elected leaders on both sides of the state line.

“After months of advocating to Secretary (Sonny) Perdue that NIFA and ERS ought to be relocated to the Kansas City area, I’m thrilled that USDA has selected Kansas City to house these critical research agencies,” Sen. Jerry Moran, R–Kansas, said in a release.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R–Missouri, was similarly happy with the announcement.

“Today’s announcement is great news for the Kansas City region and our state,” Blunt said in the release. “These agencies will bring hundreds of good-paying jobs to the area and enhance Missouri’s role as a national leader in ag research.”

Kansas City leaders also pointed to the metro's agricultural tradition as a reason the area was the correct choice for the move.

"Today the first, second and third question any company is asking about is people and talent. The ability to have a quality of life that is the same or better than the city they are coming from is incredibly important for these companies," said Jessica Palm, vice president of the Kansas City Area Development Council, which played a big role in the region's bid.

Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Republican, said the economic impact will be felt immediately.

"This is going to be a boom for the KC area," Hartzler said. "It will be $150 million a year of economic benefit. These are well-paying jobs and that will translate to more economic activity in the area."

Federal workers will relocate to the metro by July and start working in the fall, according to sources.