Leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee are expressing concerns over the Department of Agriculture’s reorganization plans.
Senators Pat Roberts and Debbie Stabenow wrote Secretary Sonny Perdue recently, noting that stakeholders have expressed concerns over the USDA plan to place economics functions under the Office of the Secretary and to move most of the employees of the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture out of Washington, according to the Hagstrom Report.
Roberts and Stabenow say stakeholders are worried that relocating positions outside of Washington will lead many employees to leave USDA and cause a loss of expertise, along with making it difficult for USDA researchers to work with other federal agencies on issues such as infectious diseases.
The Economic Research Service has been under the undersecretary for research, education and economics. However, Perdue plans to put the Office of the Chief Economist under the Office of the Secretary and ERS under the chief economist.
Last week, USDA extended the comment period for the proposal to October 15th.