Congress Heeds Scientists’ Concerns, Pumps the Brakes on Trump Administration’s Ill-Considered Plan to Reorganize USDA

Statement by Ricardo Salvador, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Dec 20, 2018

WASHINGTON (December 20, 2018)—House Representatives introduced a bill today that would prohibit Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue from following through on an ill-conceived plan to reorganize and relocate hundreds of scientists at two key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research agencies. The Agricultural Research Integrity Act of 2018 (H.R. 7330) would prevent the move, which over 1,000 scientists have opposed on the grounds that it threatens scientific integrity at the department with little or no payoff to taxpayers. Incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and numerous House members support the bill.

By keeping the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture under the purview of the USDA’s chief scientist and close to the center of federal policymaking, this legislation would safeguard science from ideological influence and ensure agency scientists can continue their effective collaboration, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Ricardo Salvador, senior scientist and director of the Food and Environment Program at UCS. 

“The Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture are the USDA’s crown jewels and the independent research they produce informs policy decisions affecting the nation’s farmers and rural communities, the long-term sustainability of our food supply, and public health. We thank co-sponsors Ranking Member Bishop and Representative Pingree for hearing our concerns and we hope to see their common-sense legislation passed into law as soon as possible.”