Leavenworth County is among the communities that have expressed interest in being the new home for two U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies. But a local economic development official said it could be some time before there is word from the USDA about the search.

Leavenworth County is among the communities that have expressed interest in being the new home for two U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies. But a local economic development official said it could be some time before there is word from the USDA about the search.

“Right now, we’re just waiting on a response,” said Steve Jack, executive director of the Leavenworth County Development Corporation.

In August, officials with the USDA announced plans to move the department’s Research, Education and Economics program and National Institute of Food and Agriculture to locations outside of the Washington, D.C. area.

Jack said two new business parks in Leavenworth and Tonganoxie have been submitted for consideration.

He said locating the USDA agencies in Leavenworth County could bring 620 high-paying jobs.

The USDA set an Oct. 15 deadline for responses from communities.

The USDA announced in late October that it received 136 expressions of interest from parties in 35 states.

These include several responses from organizations in Kansas including groups in Wichita, Salina, Manhattan and Lawrence.

Jack said Leavenworth County is being considered as part of the greater Kansas City area.

“We’re under the umbrella of the greater Kansas City area through (the Kansas City Area Development Council),” he said.

He said local communities could have applied individually. But he said local officials felt they may receive more bang for the buck by first trying to get the USDA interested in the Kansas City area.

If the people involved in the search express interest in the Kansas City area, “then we would compete with the other communities and give them additional information,” Jack said.

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