The USDA will transfer the 104-acre Beltsville Agricultural Research Center northwest of the Capital Beltway for the new printing facility. The BEP plans to begin construction in 2023 and complete the facility by 2027. The new printing facility will employ at least 850 people.
The BEP used to be the security printer for the United States government. The BEP printed security documents, including bonds and deed certificates, and stamps, other than printing currency.
Legally, the primary mission of the BEP is to print currency for the Federal Reserve. They would offer other printing services as long as they continued to supply the Fed with currency. Beginning in the 1970s, the BEP reduced the number of stamps they printed until ending stamp printing in the early 1990s. When the Treasury ended the Series E savings bond program, they contracted printing to other contractors.
The economic expansion of the 1980s led the BEP to end almost all security printing to print currency. Before opening the Fort Worth printing center in 1991, Treasury officials explored using commercial printers to supplement the BEP’s capabilities.
In 2022, the Federal Reserve ordered the printing of over 6.9 billion notes. Although this is less than last year’s order, the BEP is approaching its maximum capacity between the Washington and Fort Worth sites. And even though bonds and stamps have become electronic assets, the U.S. government still has a security printing requirement. Although a source at the BEP would not elaborate on the printing requirement, they said that government officials want to make security printing a government function.
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