The Department of Agriculture has whittled down a list of locations still in the running to house USDA’s Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 

Some 136 interested parties in 35 states initially hoped to be considered. Today's announcement brings that list down to 67 potential locations.

Relocating the two agencies has been a priority for Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, who said such a move "allows us to be closer to our stakeholders and move our resources closer to consumers." But the plan has faced opposition from those worried a relocation would lessen the standing of ag research in government. The opposition includes several key House Democrats asked in yesterday's White House budget proposal to provide $25 million for relocation costs.

The states with the most applications include Illinois (9), Virginia (8), Ohio (6), and Iowa (5). The department says the final decision will be made based upon factors like USDA travel requirements, labor force statistics, and work hours compatible with all USDA office schedules.

“The announcement of this middle list shows that we are committed to the important missions of these agencies and transparency in our selection process. USDA will make the best choice for our employees and customers,” Perdue said.

To see the complete list of locations still in the running, click here

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