Triangle in top 3 finalists for 500 jobs as relocation site of 2 USDA agencies

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Triangle area is among three sites selected from more than 100 nationally that could be the new home of two USDA agencies and about 500 jobs, according to a news release Friday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans on moving two agencies out of Washington — the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Wake County, Durham County, the N.C. Research Triangle and Research Triangle Park are listed as the applicants for the site, according to a news release from the USDA.

The other two finalists are in the midwest with the Kansas City region and multiple sites in Indiana competing against the Triangle area.

Currently, the two agencies employ near 600 people, but 96 of those would remain in Washington, according to a recent report from the Federal News Network.

In December 2018, the USDA announced that 130 sites from 35 states had expressed interest becoming the home for the groups.  That list was later shortened to 68 — and now five.

“This short list of locations took into consideration critical factors required to uphold the important missions of ERS and NIFA. We also considered factors important to our employees, such as quality of life,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a news release.

The ERS agency’s mission 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,” their website says.

The NIFA’s says its mission is to provide “leadership and funding for programs that advance agriculture-related sciences. We invest in and support initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture.”

Two back-up sites were also revealed Friday as “alternative locations” in case the top three finalists do not work out. 

Those two areas are Madison, Wisconsin and St. Louis, Missouri.

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