Merkley Slams Trump USDA Attack on Ag Research

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement following U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue’s announcement that the Trump administration will relocate USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Economic Research Service (ERS) to Kansas City:

“This announcement is yet another unacceptable chapter in the Trump administration’s ongoing attacks on science. NIFA and ERS’s work is critical to top-flight research on topics ranging from agricultural economics, to nutritional assistance and the impact of climate chaos on our farmers and ranchers. This move is all but assured to cripple these agencies’ ability to do their jobs, as a sudden and forced relocation will cause a mass exodus of experienced researchers and staff. These dedicated NIFA and ERS employees have been put in an untenable position that affects the lives of not only them but also their families. This relocation has the potential to damage agricultural research for years to come. 

“The administration’s stated logic for the move is as contorted as an acrobatic artist. Secretary Perdue claims that moving will save money, despite the fact that USDA currently has ample unused space within the National Capital Region that was not even considered.

“American farmers and ranchers deserve an administration that is dedicated to giving our agricultural industry the support it needs to succeed—not one that prioritizes petty politics and personal whims over getting the job done. This move is a huge step backwards for agricultural research in the U.S., and it speaks volumes about President Trump and Secretary Perdue’s priorities.”