May 3, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Reana Kovalcik
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Administration Continues to Strong-Arm Relocation of Core Research Agencies
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition urges Congress to protect family farmers, stop proposed moves
Washington, DC, May 3, 2019 – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its list of finalists for the proposed relocation of core research agencies, the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), in partnership with allied organizations, researchers, and policymakers across the country, has resoundingly opposed the proposed move, citing the inevitable loss of skilled staff, potential for politicization of the nonpartisan research agencies, and the lack of cost benefit or other documentation from USDA showing that the moves are warranted. In response to USDA’s publication of the ERS NIFA relocation finalists, NSAC released the following comments:
“We are deeply disappointed that the Administration continues to push forward its ill-conceived plan to relocate two of our country’s premier research agencies. The Administration’s relocation and reorganization plan has been resoundingly criticized by countless experts and stakeholders – including Members of Congress and even USDA ERS employees themselves, who are currently organizing a unionization effort to stop the relocation. If the Secretary insists on turning a deaf ear to the cacophony of opposition to this move, a litany of negative ramifications are in store.
The uprooting of these core research agencies will undoubtedly weaken our national research infrastructure by triggering the loss of valuable staff expertise, isolating the agencies from the DMV’s robust community of scientists and federal partners, and leaving agricultural research out of the critical policy debates centered in our nation’s capital. In fact, the ripple effects of this strong-arm relocation effort are already being felt.
Both ERS and NIFA are currently operating with significantly reduced capacity, as the lack of support and investment from this Administration increasingly pushes experienced researchers and experts to seek other employment. Those employees that have chosen to stay are actively fighting for the integrity of their agencies by mobilizing a unionization effort, which NSAC applauds. Ultimately, however, the fate of ERS and NIFA rests with Congress.
Congress has the power to save ERS and NIFA from banishment from the nation’s capital. We urge every Member of Congress to unite and stand strong against this move to ensure that future generations of farmers have the research and tools they need to continue feeding their neighbors and stewarding our natural resources for generations to come.”
About the National
Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: https://sustainableagriculture.net