St.Joseph makes bid for new USDA headquarters

St. Joseph makes a pitch to USDA and congressional delegation to be the host of the USDA's newest office.

Posted: Oct 12, 2018 7:23 PM

(St.Joseph,MO) The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is in the market to relocate two of their offices from Washington D.C. to the Midwest.

St. Joseph Mayor Bill McMurray, Chamber of Commerce President Patt Lilly and Community Alliance Director Steve Johnson flew out to Washington D.C, Tuesday to pitch the city as a potential location for the new facility.

The St. Joseph delegation met with Senator Roy Blunt and the staff of Senator Claire McCaskill and Representative Sam Graves to make them aware of what St. Joseph has to offer the USDA.

“Our visit was just to let our congressional delegation know that besides St. Louis and Kansas City, there is also St. Joseph and we would like to be considered favorably for some of those jobs,” McMurray said.

Lilly said St. Joseph’s proximity to the airport and major agricultural industries would make the city a prime location for what the USDA might need.

“We believe our proximity to the Kansas City area and in particular to the airport is a benefit. And given this area of the country we are close to a number of what they call land grant institutions; these are institutions that typically have agricultural research going on MU, Iowa State,K-State, Nebraska, so we think this is a good location,” Lilly said.

The USDA will move two of their facilities. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will construct a 90,000 square foot facility and host approximately 360 employees.

The Economic Research Service (ERS) will construct a 70,000 square foot facility and host approximately 260 employees.

“Both of these facilities have around 300 jobs, so they will be looking for a population area that can support that number.Some of these folks will move from Washington D.C but I would say easily half wouldn’t so we need to be in a position to make sure those people are hired here,”Lilly said.

The city submitted a letter of interest to the USDA on Friday, October 12. Lilly anticipates the USDA will have a list of finalist by early 2019.

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