Today, the American Statistical Association joined with 59 other organizations in sending a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate agricultural appropriations subcommittees requesting they protect the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The letter is the latest in a long list of activities by the USDA stakeholder community expressing concern for and/or opposition to the USDA’s controversial plans for the two agencies announced in August.
Specifically, the 60 organizations request that agriculture appropriators “specify that no funding be used for relocation or realignment of ERS and that no funding be used for the NIFA relocation beyond that already provided for its relocation within the National Capital Region.”
As stated in the letter, the signers’ “fundamental concern is that the proposed relocation and realignment will undermine the quality and breadth of the work these agencies support and perform – work that is vital to informing and supporting US agriculture, food and rural economies.”
The organizations are worried that the move would set back progress that has been made. “The USDA moves have the potential to reverse the significant progress your subcommittees have made in recent years to start revitalizing agricultural research, education, extension, and economics.” Moving the two agencies out of D.C. will also isolate resources and opportunities available to them now.
A list of all 60 organizations and a copy of the letter can be found here.
NIFA programs propel cutting-edge discoveries from research laboratories to farms, classrooms, communities, and back again. Through three main federal-funding mechanisms, NIFA supports programs that address key national challenge areas.
The mission of USDA’s Economic Research Service is to anticipate trends and emerging issues in agriculture, food, the environment, and rural America and to conduct high-quality, objective economic research to inform and enhance public and private decision making.