Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Trump administration moving hundreds of USDA scientists from D.C. to Kansas City

In this image, Sonny Perdue speaks at a podium.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue at a 2018 forum. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Employees at USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) intend to move from Washington, D.C. to an unspecified area in the Kansas City region by the end of 2019, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: "Employees, congressional Democrats and a bipartisan coalition of former USDA leaders" have warned that the move "would devastate the two agencies," per the Post. ERS and NIFA have both recently unionized and some "union officials have promised to fight the move."

Trump administration has paid farmers $8.52 billion in aid to offset trade war

Cotton farm
Cotton farm in California. Photo: Citizens of the Planet/Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

As of Monday, the Trump administration has made $8.52 billion in direct payments to farmers through a 2018 aid program designed to counter losses stemming from the trade war with China, a U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesperson said.

Why it matters: President Trump promised aid of up t0 $12 billion, but the program stalled during the month-long government shutdown and major flooding in the Midwest has caused farmers additional pain. A prolonged trade war, which seems to be where the U.S. and China are headed, could force the Trump administration to renew the program.