|Screenshot of ERS Amber Waves home page|
"Critics say the change is an effort to shake up the research agency and diminish ERS’s role in providing data that informs decision making," the Yonder reports. "They also say that moving ERS into the Office of the Chief Economist (where it was located once before) will increase the political pressure placed on the agency’s researchers."
Eric Katz reports for Government Executive, "The transition has raised eyebrows in the agriculture and statistics communities, with some experts questioning the Trump administration’s motives. The White House proposed slashing the Economic Research Service budget nearly in half in the president's fiscal 2019 budget," and cutting NIFA "a comparatively modest 8 percent."
The Yonder and The Rural Blog regularly use ERS research and publications such as Amber Waves, Rural America at a Glance and the Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America. As the Yonder says, "There is no comparable public source of information about the economic and social conditions of rural America." It has compiled a list of comments that it received or that were published in other news outlets about the ERS move and the related relocation of NIFA.
Joseph Glauber, who was chief economist from 2007 through 2014, told Government Executive, “I don’t think the independence is compromised by reporting to a chief economist,” but relocation of ERS would cause problems. “My fear is it will just result in a big loss of personnel,” he said, adding that he would “want my economists close by.” He said they would miss important meetings, and it “just doesn’t make a lot of sense” for chief economists to travel hundreds of miles to visit employees.