Kansas City has secured two highly prized federal agencies that have been reviewing relocation sites nationwide: The Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The Kansas City Area Development Council announced that decision with a news release this morning, saying that the USDA team was evaluating multiple Class A office properties in Kansas and Missouri.
The department will need 120,000-square feet of space for a combined 568 employees, and it plans to have them up and running in the fall. A major factor contributing to the decision, KCADC said, was the existing concentration of USDA employees and operations in this region. More than 150 federal agencies are already in the region, which has access to 13 land-grant universities within a 300-mile radius and is 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.
“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.”
Kansas City is bracketed by a pair of land-grant universities in agriculture research giants Kansas State University and the University of Missouri, and has 11 more in the broader region, more than any other U.S. location, the KCADC said. The National Bio and Agro Defense Facility, the USDA’s state-of-the-art bio-containment laboratory for the study of diseases threatening the nation’s animal agricultural industries, is opening on the K-State campus in Manhattan 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 of the 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.
KCADC said it had partnered with more than 300 KC area organizations, community partners, civic groups and elected officials to attract these two coveted USDA offices to the KC region.