USDA looking for new homes for two agencies

Photo courtesy: MGN
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WASHINGTON (CBS19 NEWS) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture need new homes.

On Tuesday, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a list of 136 places in 35 states that are vying to be that location, three of which are in this area.

"The announcement of this middle list shows that we are committed to the important missions of these agencies and transparency in our selection process. USDA will make the best choice for our employees and customers," Perdue said. "Relocation will help ensure that USDA is the most effective, most efficient, and most customer-focused agency in the federal government, allowing us to be closer to our stakeholders and more our resources closer to our customers."

When creating the list of locations that had expressed interest in housing these agencies, the USDA used a set of requirements, including travel, labor force statistics, and work hours compatibility. Another 67 locations are under consideration.

"The interest from across the country has been overwhelming as localities, universities, private entities, and elected officials realize the potential for their communities [to] become the new home for these two agencies," Perdue said. "It is an old saying that not all wisdom resides in Washington, D.C., but it is gratifying to see so many folks step forward wanting to prove that to be the case. We look forward to working with Ernst & Young in examining all of the proposals and selecting the new locations."

Along with locations in Virginia, places in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming are also being considered.

The USDA says a variety of entities have expressed interest, including education institutions, nonprofits, state development agencies, county development agencies, and municipalities, among others.

The federal agency also says it wants to move these two agencies for several reasons, including savings on employment costs and rent and attracting qualified employees with training and interests in agriculture, many of whom are associated with land-grant universities.

Locally, the three places that say they want to offer space to the agencies are the University of Virginia Foundation in Charlottesville; the Central Virginia Partnership in Economic Development, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Fried Companies, Inc., and Jones Lang LaSalle in Greene County; and the Lester Group in Madison County.

To view the full list of locations being considered, click on the link in the Related Links box.

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