KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday it has signed a lease for permanent office space at an office building in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, for two of its research agencies.
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a news release that signing the lease is an important next step for the agencies' efficiency, effectiveness and service to customers.
The USDA announced plans in June to move roughly 550 employees of the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture by the end of September to the Kansas City area. The two agencies will be located at 805 Pennsylvania Avenue, the old State Street Building in the Historic Garment District.
The downtown Kansas City site beat out other locations in consideration, including Crown Center, Quality Hill and the Sprint campus in Overland Park.
Political leaders on both sides of the state line praised the announcement and welcomed the two agencies to Kansas City.
“I’ve long advocated that USDA’s ERS and NIFA relocate to the Kansas City metropolitan area, knowing that regardless of what side of the border these facilities would land, it would be a positive development for the regional economy and so many institutions across Kansas and Missouri,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, in a news release. “I applaud the many entities across Kansas City who have worked to bring these agencies closer to the producers they serve."
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas also lauded the move and the bipartisan efforts to bring the agencies to the Kansas City region.
“I am pleased that after months of bipartisan regional efforts, Kansas City has been selected to house USDA’s ERS and NIFA agencies,” Lucas said in the news release. “As an essential part of the animal health corridor, and with several high-caliber research universities and institutions nearby, I know that our regional workforce stands ready to assist these agencies in their vital research efforts. I look forward to welcoming these employees to Kansas City.”
The announcement of the new office space comes amid charges from a federal employees union that the move has left them critically understaffed, saying it will take years to hire replacements for the highly specialized positions.