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The STL Partnership says a plan is in the works to submit a bid to attract roughly 700 well-paying United States Department of Agriculture jobs that are slated to be moved out of Washington, D.C.

Sheila Sweeney, CEO of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, said the organization, along with others, is putting together a pitch to win the jobs.

“We are making an effort and we’ve put together an aggressive proposal responding to what they’ve asked for,” she said. “In the coming weeks we’ll make sure we’re answering everything that they’re looking for. I think that the USDA will recognize the huge benefit having the cluster of researchers and people who are focused on agriculture here in St. Louis doing business,” Sweeney said. “I think it’s natural that St. Louis would be at the top of their list.”

According to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the planned move of the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture aims to “…improve customer service, strengthen offices and programs, and save taxpayer dollars.”

The jobs pay more than $100,000 annually.

Missouri U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler says the move makes sense because the Agriculture Department already has offices in Kansas City and St. Louis. USDA officials also state the move is designed to put workers closer to the farmers they serve while offering a lower cost of living. The main goal is to reduce turnover in these offices.

The recent Brookings Institution’s piece nationally-recognized St. Louis for its AgTech and 39 North Innovation District. As a result, the St. Louis region is a top choice since it’s the leader in agriculture and agriculture technology. Missouri, like Illinois, has a plethora of conventional and family farms that make a living from corn and soy. Notable agriculture and ag-related companies also call St. Louis their home including: Monsanto (Bayer Crop Sciences), Bunge, Dow, Syngenta, KWS, Nestle-Purina, and Anheuser-Busch.

39 North, was announced on Dec. 7, 2016.  The district in Creve Coeur includes 600 acres surrounding the Danforth Plant Science Center, BRDG Park, Helix Incubator, Yield Lab and Monsanto.  By connecting regional assets, improving mobility, creating development opportunities and additional greenspace will enhance the region’s ability to grow, attract and retain companies and top talent.

Visit: STLPartnership.com or follow on Twitter: @39NorthSTL and @STLPartnership