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Maura Bennett More Scientists Oppose Perdue's USDA Reorg
by Maura Bennett, click here for bio

Program: Colorado Ag Today
Date: March 27, 2019

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One Hundred and one organizations signed a letter sent to Congress urging members to block the US Department of Agriculture’s) relocation and reorganization of the Economic Research Service out of Washington DC. It would also relocate the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Executive director of the American Statistical Association pointed out USDA’s rationale for the change was undermined by the latest proposed budget. It slashes ERS’s budget by cutting research in farm, conservation, and trade policy; food assistance, and food safety. Secretary Perdue told them the reorganization was ‘intended to improve customer service, strengthen offices and programs, and save taxpayer dollars.’ But their attempts to cut the agency’s budget in half for the second year in a row reveals they don’t care about the first two.

Colorado State University Biology Professor and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Daniel Bush agrees the rationale doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

“A very fair question is, what is the motivation here. As far as any perceived savings. If there’s the notion let’s get these people that are doing agricultural research close to agriculture, give me a break. We have the National Institutes of Health, the fundamental organization do basic and applied research into human biomedical concerns and that’s located in Washington and it is fed by and informed by biomedical professionals bothe PHD’s and MD’s from across the nation.”

The USDA chief scientists and under secretaries under President George W. Bush and Barack Obama have organized a letter that has now been signed by 75 leaders of the land grant university agricultural research network.

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