The Kansas City region will become the new home of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The USDA team is currently evaluating multiple Class-A office properties in Kansas and Missouri for its 120,000-square-foot space, which will house both agencies and 568 employees, and expects to be operational this fall.
The Kansas City region was selected for its existing concentration of USDA employees and operations, the more than 150 federal agencies in the area, proximity to 13 land grant universities, and central location in the agricultural heart of the country. This concentration is enhanced by the area’s research capabilities and industry-led initiatives like the KC Animal Health Corridor. The Corridor, anchored by Manhattan, KS and Columbia, MO, is home to more than 300 animal health companies, representing the largest concentration in the world.
“Because of Kansas City’s 100-plus year legacy of leadership in the agriculture and animal health industries, this decision feels like a homecoming for the USDA,” said Tim Cowden, president and CEO, Kansas City Area Development Council. “We welcome the ERS and NIFA teams and look forward to introducing them to KC’s incredible culture, robust scientific community and unprecedented access to the research, farm, agribusiness and financial customers they serve.”
ERS anticipates trends and emerging issues in agriculture, food, the environment and rural America and conducts high-quality, objective economic research to inform and enhance public and private decision making. NIFA provides leadership and funding for programs that advance agriculture-related sciences. It invests in and supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture.
Within 300 miles of Kansas City are 13 land grant universities—including agriculture research giants Kansas State University and the University of Missouri—more than any other U.S. location. The National Bio and Agro Defense Facility, the USDA’s state-of-the-art biocontainment laboratory for the study of diseases threatening the nation’s animal agricultural industries, is opening in Manhattan, KS in 2022.
“With 56 percent of total worldwide animal health, diagnostics and pet food sales, the Kansas City region is home to more than 300 animal health companies, representing the largest concentration in the world,” said Kimberly Young, president, KC Animal Health Corridor. “We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the USDA to advance cutting-edge discoveries, develop the next generation of agriculture talent and ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply.”
Kansas City is already home to more than a dozen USDA agency operations. More than 5,000 USDA employees and contractors work in Kansas City for operations such as the Office of Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service and the Farm Service Agency. The Kansas City area also boasts 35,000 federal employees and a robust Federal Executive Board serving the metro’s 150 federal agencies.