USDA Dedicates New Miami Research Building, Offers
April 8, 2010
Officials with the
U.S. Department of Agricultures
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) today
dedicated a new research and administrative building at the agencys
Horticulture Research Station (SHRS) south of Coral Gables. The new
building serves as an integral part of the research station mission, housing
laboratories and offices for scientists, as well as business and support staff.
ARS is USDAs chief intramural scientific research agency.
The Miami research center has been a key player in protecting and
preserving tropical and subtropical crops such as mangos, avocados, bananas and
cacao that are not only very popular with consumers, but also are an important
source of income to small farmers in many parts of the world, said Molly
Jahn, USDA Acting Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics.
This new facility will help us continue that vital research and learn
more about the genetic diversity of these crops, the diseases and pests that
threaten them, and ways we can produce them in a more sustainable,
environmentally friendly manner.
B. Knipling, ARS administrator, attended the dedication along with numerous
scientists, Miami area officials and research collaborators.
The new building completes the long-term restoration at the research center
to repair damage resulting from Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Construction of the
new building was supported by an $8 million Congressional appropriation.
The SHRS facilities include a USDA
Repository that houses unique collections of cacao, mango, avocado, banana,
plantains, palms, sugarcane, ornamentals, and other tropical and subtropical
crops. Researchers use the collections to study the genetic diversity of
various crops and look for ways to increase crop yields and make them more
resistant to diseases and pathogens. SHRS researchers also focus on developing
methods to control exotic insect pests and develop technologies that will save
water, reduce agricultural runoff and promote sustainable agronomic systems.
The station was established in 1898 for the study of tropical plants that
were being introduced into the United States. The facilities were relocated to
the present site, the former Chapman Airfield in Palmetto Bay, in 1923. Because
of its proximity to Biscayne Bay, the station is one of the few locations in
the continental United States that can sustain long term production of tropical
On Saturday, April 10, guided tours of the 204-acre grounds and the new
building will be available to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The tours will
focus on the five research areas covered by SHRS scientistsplant science,
agronomy, entomology, ornamental plants and cacaoand will include
demonstrations of molecular genetics methods, remote sensing and water usage,
and insect detection systems. Biographical sketches of the SHRS scientists and
an oral history of the station will be presented in video form in the new
For further information, call (786) 573-7056 or visit the