Much at stake with new Farm Bill and as USDA considers move from DC, possibly to Missouri?

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By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

A Missouri Congresswoman says Congress is anxious to see how the Department of Agriculture implements changes in the Farm Bill.

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, says she wants to see how the USDA handles changes made to benefit the dairy industry.

“The dairy industry is really hurting and we tried to change a lot of the Farm Bill programs for their insurance program to be worth their while in participating and to provide them that revenue they need to keep them viable,” Hartzler tells KFEQ Farm Director Melissa Gregory.

Hartzler says the Agriculture Committee has been holding hearings with USDA officials, getting updates on implementation of changes to the Farm Bill.

Hartzler is excited about other changes proposed by the USDA.

Missouri has a real shot at landing two USDA divisions, bringing nearly 700 high-paying jobs and a lot of prestige to the region.

The USDA announced earlier it plans to re-locate the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture away from Washington, D.C.

Three finalists have been chosen out of the 136 potential sites in 35 states:  the greater Kansas City area, the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina, and locations in Indiana. USDA plans to make the move by the end of the year.

Hartzler is excited about the possibilities.

“I have advocated that they come to Kansas City,” Hartzler says. “I know they got a lot of applications and was really excited to hear that we made the finals of the top three that they are going to look at, and, actually, St. Louis is one of the alternates. So, between those two, Missouri has a really good chance of being the center for agriculture service in this country.”

Economic Research provides data which the USDA uses to decide policy. The Institute of Food and Agriculture awards more than a billion dollars’ worth of competitive grants on sustainable agriculture.