USDA Announces Receipt of 136 Expressions of Interest in Hosting ERS & NIFA

Dan Industry News Release

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has received 136 expressions of interest from parties in 35 states interested in becoming the new homes of the Economic Research Service expressions(ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).  In August, Perdue announced that most ERS and NIFA personnel would be moving to outside the National Capital Region by the end of 2019 and invited interested parties to submit proposals, with a deadline which had been extended to October 15, 2018.  USDA intends to select the new location or locations by January 2019 and will retain a consultant with expertise in relocations.

“The interest from across the country has been overwhelming as localities, universities, private entities, and elected officials realize the potential for their communities in 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.”

nifaStates represented in the expressions of interest are: 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, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The entities expressing interest in hosting EFS and NIFA include educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, state development agencies, county development agencies, municipalities, and for-profit entities.  USDA has also received letters of support from a number of governors, members of Congress, farm-related organizations, and state and local officials.  It is possible that ERS and NIFA will be co-located when their new homes are found.  A yet-to-be-determined amount of staff from the two agencies will remain in the National Capital Region.

USDA is undertaking the relocations for a variety of reasons.  The move will place important USDA resources closer to many stakeholders, most of whom live and work far from the Washington, D.C. area.  Additionally, taxpayers will realize significant savings on employment costs and rent, which will allow more employees to be retained in the long run, even in the face of tightening budgets.  Finally, the plan will improve USDA’s ability to attract and retain highly qualified staff with training and interests in agriculture, many of whom come from land-grant universities.

Under the plan, no ERS or NIFA employees will be involuntarily separated. Every employee who wants to continue working will have an opportunity to do so, although that will mean moving to a new location for most. Employees will be offered relocation assistance and will receive the same base pay as before, and the locality pay for the new location. For those who are interested, USDA is seeking approval from the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget for both Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments.

Perdue also noted that 91 percent of USDA’s approximately 108,000 employees currently work outside of the Washington, D.C. region.

As part of the changes, ERS will be aligned with the Office of the Chief Economist under the Office of the Secretary.  This represents a return to its previous positioning when ERS was aligned under the Assistant Secretary for Economics within the Office of the Secretary.

Perdue previously announced other significant reorganizations at USDA. In May 2017, USDA created the first-ever Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs and reconstituted and renamed the new Farm Production and Conservation mission area, among other realignments. In addition, in September 2017, Perdue realigned a number of offices to improve customer service and maximize efficiency. Those actions involved innovation, consolidation, and the rearrangement of certain offices into more logical organizational reporting structures.


136 Expressions of Interest

State Location Applicant(s)
AL Birmingham City of Birmingham; University of Alabama at Birmingham; Auburn University; Tuskegee University; Alabama A&M University; Economic Development Association of Alabama
AL Auburn University Auburn Research and Technology Foundation/Auburn University
AL Shelby County City of Hoover, Shelby County, 58 INC. – the nonprofit economic coalition of Shelby County, the Birmingham Business Alliance, Alabama Power Company, Harbert Realty Services, and Select Income REIT / RMR Group
AR Arkansas Arkansas Economic Development Commission
AR Jonesboro/Northeast Arkansas Coalition City of Jonesboro, Craighead County, Jonesboro Unlimited, Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Northeast Arkansas Economic Development Coalition
AZ Tempe Arizona Commerce Authority; Arizona State University and the Arizona Department of Agriculture
AZ Tucson Arizona Commerce Authority; Sun Corridor Inc., the University of Arizona and the Arizona Department of Agriculture
CA Folsom Newmark Knight Frank
CA Greater Sacramento Greater Sacramento Economic Council
CA Rancho Cordova Newmark Knight Frank
CA Rancho Cordova Newmark Knight Frank
CA Sacramento Newmark Knight Frank
CA Lucerne The Lucerne Area Revitalization Association
CO Denver Cottonwood Management Company
CO Denver Forest City Trust
CO Denver Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation
CO Aurora Aurora Economic Development Council
DE Newark University of Delaware
FL City of Newberry City of Newberry
GA Tifton County Tifton County Development Authority and Georgia Department of Economic Development
GA Griffin Spalding County Griffin-Spalding Development Authority, Rooker, UGA and Georgia Department of Economic Development
GA Athens-Clarke County Athens-Clarke County Development Authority and Nichols Land & Investment Company and Georgia Department of Economic Development
GA Statesboro-Bulloch County Development Authority of Bulloch County and Georgia Department of Economic Development
IA Ankeny City of Ankeny/ Greater Des Moines Partnership, Cultivation Corridor, and the Iowa Economic Development Authority
IA West Des Moines City of West Des Moines
IA Ames City of Ames and Iowa State University
IA Council Bluffs Advance Southwest Iowa Corporation; City of Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County
IA Des Moines City of Des Moines; Greater Des Moines Partnership
IA and IL Quad Cities Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce
IL Algonquin Village of Algonquin
IL Greater Peoria Greater Peoria Economic Development Council
IL Peoria Maloof Commercial Real Estate
IL Warrenville NAI Hiffman
IL Schaumburg Village of Schaumburg
IL DuPage County economic development agency for DuPage County, Illinois
IL Kane County Kane County
IL Decatur Economic Development Corp. of Decatur & Macon County
IL Orland Park Orland Park, State of Illinois, Will County, Illinois Intersect and the Will County Center for Economic Development
IL Huntley Village of Huntley
IL Des Plaines City of Des Plaines
IL Champaign Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Parkland College, the University of Illinois Research Park, LLC, and Champaign and Urbana.
IL Barrington Village of Barrington; Bourns Inc
IN Multiple Indiana Economic Development Corporation; AgriNovus Indiana, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) and Purdue University
IN Evansville Hahn Kiefer Real Estate Services
KS Wichita The Greater Wichita Partnership
KS Salina Salina Community Economic Development Organization in cooperation with the City of Salina, Saline County, the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, Salina Airport Authority and numerous private sector developers/realtors along with representatives from the Kansas State Polytechnic Campus, Kansas Wesleyan University and Salina Area Technical College.
KS Salina Salina Community Economic Development Organization
KS Manhattan Knowledge Based Economic Development, LLC/university and community economic development partnership
KS Lawrence Lawrence Chamber & Economic Development Corporation, the City of Lawrence, Douglas County, and the Bioscience & Technology Business Center (BTBC), has combined efforts with the University of Kansas and the KU Endowment Association
KS and MO Greater Kansas City Region The Kansas City Area Development Council
LA Baton Rouge The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC), along with partners Louisiana Economic Development (LED), Baton Rouge Area Foundation(BRAF), Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry (LDAF), Louisiana State University (LSU), and Southern University and & Mechanical College (SUAM) Agricultural
MD Salisbury Wicomico Economic Development
MD Montgomery County Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation
MD Hanover Tritower Financial Group
MD Somerset County Somerset County Economic Development Commission
MD Frederick County Frederick County Office of Economic Development
MD Laurel Newtower Trust Company
MD Centreville town of Centerville; Emory Properties
MD Caroline County Caroline County
MD Queen Anne KRM Development Corp, Queen Anne County Economic Development
MD Kent County KRM Development Corp, Kent County Economic Development
MD College Park University of Maryland College Park
MD Baltimore Cushmanwakefield
MD Charles County Charles County Economic Development Department
MI East Lansing Michigan State University, State of Michigan, Capital Region International Airport (LAN), Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau, Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan Farm Bureau
MN Shakopee The Opus Group
MN Minneapolis University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership (GREATER MSP), and the Minnesota Food and Agriculture Initiative
MN Falcon Heights Buhl Investors
MO Springfield Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce
MO Kansas City HPI Group
MO St. Louis A consortium of regional leaders across six counties in Missouri and Illinois; State of Missouri and Missouri’s Departments of Agriculture, Economic Development, and Workforce Development, as well as the Missouri Partnership
MO Multiple State of Missouri; Missouri Partnership
MO St Joseph St Joseph Economic Development Partnership
MT Missoula Missoula Economic Partnership
MT Bozeman The Montana State University Innovation Campus
MT Billings Big Sky Economic Development;WC Commercial, LLC
NC Greensboro-High Point Guilford County Economic Development Alliance
NC Kannapolis The North Carolina Research Campus; the city of Kannapolis, Cabarrus and Rowan Counties, and the state of North Carolina
NC Research Triangle Region Wake County, Durham County and Research Triangle Park
NC Chapel Hill State Employee Credit Union
ND Fargo Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, the ND Department of Commerce, Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce,Bank of North Dakota, City of Fargo, NDSU
NE Omaha SPW Partners G and S and CBRE MEGA
NE Sidney City of Sidney and Cheyenne County, Nebraska Economic Development Partnership
NE Lincoln The Nebraska consortium, led by Governor Pete Ricketts and former USDA Secretary Mike Johanns and including the State of Nebraska, University of Nebraska system, City of Lincoln, Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corporation, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and public and private business and
NY Greater Rochester FLX Food and Beverage Consortium is led by Greater Rochester Enterprise, a not-for-profit economic development organization. Members of the Consortium include Cornell University and the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; the Cornell Agriculture and Technology Farm; Empire State Development; the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets; the New York State Governor’s Office; Rochester Institute of Technology; Tompkins County Area Development; the University of Rochester; and Wegmans Food Markets Inc.
OH Akron County of Summit
OH Ashtabula County Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County
OH Darke County Darke County Commissioners
OH Geauga County Geauga County Department of Development
OH Madison Village Administrator Madison Village
OH Middlefield Village Village of Middlefield
OH Portage County Portage Development Board
OH Twinsburg City of Twinsburg
OH Warren Cafaro Company
OH Youngstown Western Reserve Port Authority; City of Warren and Howland Township
OK Pawnee County Pawnee County Economic Development Foundation
OK Stillwater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce partnered with Oklahoma State University, Langston University, and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce
PA Fayette County County Commissioner
PA Hanover Township Private Citizen
PA Clarion Clarion Trinity Development Co
PA Clarion Miles Brothers
SC Columbia State of South Carolina (including; South Carolina Department of Commerce, Clemson University, South Carolina Department of Agriculture, and Richland County’s Economic Development Office)
SD Brookings City of Brookings; Brookings Economic Development Corporation
SD Sioux Falls Sioux Falls Development Foundation; South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development City of Sioux Falls
TN Knoxville University of Tennessee, Knoxville/University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTK/UTIA); University of Tennessee, Martin (UTM); Tennessee State University (TSU); and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
TN Memphis Agricenter International
TX Dallas HPI Group
TX College Station Texas A&M AgriLife Research
TX Amarillo/Lubbock Amarillo Economic Development Corporation; Lubbock Economic Development Alliance
TX San Marcos Greater San Marcos Partnership; San Marcos, Hays County and Texas State University
UT Tooele County Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Tooele County, Tooele City, Utah State University, and the Economic Development Corporation of Utah
VA Spotsylvania County County of Spotsylvania
VA Caroline County Caroline County Department of Economic Development
VA Charlottesville University of Virginia Foundation
VA Greene County County of Greene; Central Virginia Partnership in Economic Development; Virginia Economic Development Partnership; Fried Companies, Inc; Jones Lang LaSalle
VA Loudoun County Loudoun County, Virginia Economic Development
VA Prince William Prince William County Department of Economic Development
VA Richmond The Riverstone Group, LLC
VA Richmond Thompson
VA Petersburg Virginia State University and the Petersburg metropolitan region
VA Stafford County Stafford County Department of Economic Development & Tourism
VA Danville City of Danville
VA Winchester City of Winchester
VA Fredericksburg City Of Fredericksburg
VA Spotsylvania County The Vakos Companies
VA Bristol Washington County; One Alpha Place, LLC; Callebs Commercial Realty and Jones Lang LaSalle
VA Madison County Madison County; The Lester Group
VA Spotsylvania Gutierrez
VA Fredericksburg The Cafaro Company
WA Tri-Cities Tri-Cities
WI Madison City of Madison, the University of Wisconsin–Madison College of Agricultural & Life Sciences (CALS), University of Wisconsin–Madison Office of University Relations, University Research Park, State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and 910 Mayer, LLC
WV Fairmont High Technology Foundation
WV Harrison County Harrison County Economic Development Corporation
WY Cheyenne/Laramie Cheyenne, Laramie and University of Wyoming

Source: USDA