New USDA Animal Research Facility Dedicated
McGinnis July 3, 2007
AMES, Iowa, July 3Secretary of Agriculture
Johanns and members of Iowa's Congressional delegation helped dedicate a
new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
high-containment large animal facility here today that combines several
research facilities into one location. The new building is the second component
of a multi-phase, $460 million project.
"Construction of this state-of-the-art animal health center is an
important milestone in USDA's efforts to provide first-class animal health
services," said Johanns. "The work here has generated tremendous benefits for
livestock, agricultural workers and consumers."
The "high-containment" designation means the building is designed for
optimal safety and security because the scientists will work with a variety of
endemic, zoonotic and foreign animal diseases in what is called Biological
Safety Level 3 (BSL3) space. This includes features such as airtight walls,
filtered air and liquid waste treatment technology. Construction lasted
three-and-a-half years and cost approximately $85 million.
The new building contains more than 155,000 square feet and will house
cattle, bison, elk, deer, reindeer, sheep and hogs. It includes designated
areas for research by scientists with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) as well as for diagnostics-testing
training and biologic product evaluation by employees of USDA's Animal and
Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
Employees in the new facility will contribute to the nation's $100
billion livestock industry by conducting research, diagnostics and training, as
well as testing vaccines and evaluating veterinary biological products.
The center consolidates three units within the two USDA agencies:
A consolidated lab and a low-containment animal facility are still
under construction. By 2009, when the project is expected to conclude, the Ames
complex will be one of the largest animal health centers in the world. It will
have about one million square feet of laboratory and research facilities,
including the BSL3 space.
ARS is USDA's chief scientific research agency. APHIS is the
department's primary agency for responding to animal and plant diseases, as
well as pest threats.