23 Sep VDI Co-Lead Organizations Respond to NIFA’s Move to Kansas City Region
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is moving to the Kansas City region. This means that the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) and the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP), administered by NIFA, will also be moving out of Washington, D.C. Like 75% of NIFA’s workforce, Dr. Michelle Colby who leads VMLRP and VSGP, will not be relocating.
Veterinary Debt Initiative co-lead organizations the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) recently sent a letter to NIFA Director Scott Angle outlining concerns over the management of the VMLRP and VSGP, including the recordkeeping and timeliness of the awards and grants distribution. The AVMA and AAVMC partner with the Veterinary Medical Association Executives to lead the Veterinary Debt Initiative.
- USDA’s inspector general recently released a report on the relocation of Economic Research Service (ERS) and NIFA from Washington, D.C. to Kansas City. But with lawmakers out of town for the long August recess and the relocation already underway, it’s unclear whether the findings will have any impact. The report found that USDA officials have the legal authority to carry out the relocation but not necessarily the budget authority to do so. The report also failed to answer significant questions about the motivation behind the move.
- ERS and NIFA researchers may request to telework from Washington, D.C through the end of the year. Requests will be considered on an individual, case by case basis. Also, employees who rejected relocation will now have until the end of September to change their minds. Employees in difficult to fill positions will be given bonuses if they agree to relocate. The bonuses will be equivalent to one month’s salary.