USDA Deputy Secretary Joins ASA Webinar Addressing Move, Reorganization

The ASA and 28 cosponsoring organizations hosted a free webinar, titled “ USDA Research Relocation and Reorganization: Perspectives from Former USDA Chief Scientists and Administrators,” September 20. The topic was a recent proposal to relocate two USDA agencies outside Washington, DC—the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture—and administratively realign ERS.

The webinar attracted more than 300 viewers and featured USDA Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky as a panelist. Scott Swinton, past president of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, served as moderator, while panelists Catherine Woteki, former USDA under secretary; Gale Buchanan, former USDA under secretary; and Susan Offutt, former ERS administrator, outlined concerns and expressed opposition to the proposal. Censky concluded the presentations with USDA justification for the decision and all panelists took questions.

recording of the webinar and the  slides are available on the ASA website.

The ASA has been working with the broader USDA and federal statistical agency stakeholder community to oppose the USDA proposal because of the effects it would have on the quality, relevance, and timeliness of ERS work. ASA President Lisa LaVange has written numerous letters to Congress and she and ASA Executive Director Ron Wasserstein have provided quotes in the following ASA press releases: Congress Seeks Answers to USDA’s Agencies MoveNew USDA Personnel Data Spurs ASA to Reiterate Call for Congress to Block USDA Move; and Penny-Wise, Dollar-Foolish Move at USDA Amounts to Big American Food and Agriculture Loss.