USDA announces more reorg plans, changes for ERS, NIFAThis article is powered by Issue Monitor
Reorganization plans continue to move forward at USDA, with an August 8 announcement detailing changes for the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) – including plans to move most of their employees out of the Washington, DC region.
The changes are "intended to improve customer service, strengthen offices and programs, and save taxpayer dollars," USDA said in a release.
For ERS, the biggest organizational change will be rolling the agency back under the Office of the Secretary alongside the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE). "[ERS and OCE] have similar missions," USDA said. "ERS studies and anticipates trends and emerging issues, while OCE advises the Secretary and Congress on the economic implications of policies and programs." Ultimately, the changes "will enhance the effectiveness of economic analysis," it added.
Meanwhile, both ERA and NIFA will be relocated out of the Washington, DC region, and USDA said it is possible both may be co-located "when their new homes are found." The department said turnover at the agencies and recruitment issues influenced the decision, adding "the high cost of living and long commutes" around Washington was a factor.
The relocation will also help bring the resources offered by ERS and NIFA "closer to many of stakeholders, most of whom live and work far from the Washington, DC area," per the release. The movement of the employees outside of Washington is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
Discussing the move, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue remarked, "In our Administration, we have looked critically at the way we do business, with the ultimate goal of ensuring the best service possible for our customers, and for the taxpayers of the United States."
He continued, "In some cases, this has meant realigning some of our offices and functions, or even relocating them, in order to make more logical sense or provide more streamlined and efficient services."