Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue

For the first time since the USDA announced it was coming to Kansas City, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue came to visit on Friday.

KANSAS CITY, MO (AP) -- U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says he has "absolutely zero regrets" over the decision to move two research agencies' headquarters from Washington, D.C., to Kansas City.

Perdue joined government leaders from Kansas and Missouri Friday to tour the new headquarters for the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Critics say the move will harm agriculture research and make the findings less accessible to federal policymakers.

Perdue contends moving the agencies to the heart of agriculture country will allow researchers to work more closely with farmers, land grant universities and private agriculture-related companies.

But Laura Dodson, an agricultural economist and union representative at the Economic Research Service, said the agencies' researchers focus on national questions, and living near agricultural land is irrelevant to the work they do.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press.

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