Last month USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the administration’s plan to reorganize two agricultural agencies critical to public research. The proposal would move the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Economic Research Service (ERS) out of our nation’s capital, where they have long resided. Farming advocates have raised the alarm that this fundamental reorganization of the USDA would cut the two interdisciplinary research institutions off from key colleagues and resources in D.C., and compromise the important mission of ERS in addressing competition issues in agricultural markets.
We can’t allow our public agricultural research institutions to be reorganized, undermined, and removed from our nation’s capital without the public having a say. The future of public agricultural research is at stake.
We are reaching out to all of our seed policy advocates today to ask you to make your voice heard about this alarming proposal. Your voice matters. Our best course of action is to reach out to Congress today. Here is a sample script for talking with your members in Congress:
Hello, I’m a constituent who’s calling to ask [Senator or Representative _________] to call on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reverse its decision to relocate our country’s leading research agencies to outside of Washington, D.C. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Economic Research Service are critical to advancing research and have long resided in our nation’s capital to ensure close collaboration with other agencies. I also disagree with the USDA’s decision to move ERS to the Office of the Secretary, which will politicize and compromise the very federal agency responsible for impartial food and agricultural economic analysis. At the very least the USDA must follow its legal obligation to provide an opportunity for public comment prior to taking a reorganization action.
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Want to learn more?
A webinar on Thursday, Sept. 20, will provide more details and perspectives on the impacts of relocating these two research agencies should USDA’s proposal move forward. Learn more and register here.
Are you a scientist/researcher?
Our partners at Union of Concerned Scientists and Organic Farming Research Foundation are organizing a petition that they will deliver to members of the Appropriations and Agriculture Committees in Congress later this month. If you are a scientist, please consider adding your name to this petition by Monday, Sept. 24.