The new research facility in Salinas, California will include new laboratories and additional scientists and will build on the current research conducted by ARS


Artist’s rendering of the new research facility to be built by the USDA. (Credit: ARS.)

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has broken ground on its Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) new Agricultural Research Technology Center in Salinas, California.

The agency organised live and virtual groundbreaking ceremony, adhering to the social distancing norms due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.

The new research facility will include new laboratories, greenhouses and will house additional scientists. The facility will build on the current ARS Crop Improvement and Protection Research Laboratory in Salinas.

ARS Administrator Chavonda Jacobs-Young said: “When this new facility is complete, we will be able to vastly advance our research on the sustainable production of vegetable and fruit crops—research that is crucial to the success of California’s large agricultural sector.

“And we will be able to expand collaborations with our longtime partners at the University of California, Davis, who have been working with us for almost 100 years on a diverse portfolio of projects that has included both food crops and industrial crops.”

ARS crop, improvement and protection research unit research leader James McCreight said: “By significantly expanding our facilities, it will help ensure innovative research on fruit and vegetable to best serve our customers, stakeholders, and the scientific community.”

ARS is the chief scientific in-house research agency of USDA

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the USDA’s chief scientific in-house research agency whose responsibility is to find solutions to agricultural problems affecting the country on a daily basis from field to table.

The organisation functions with an annual budget of $1.4bn. It has 600 research projects within 15 National Programmes, on which 2,000 scientists work. They are supported by 6,000 employees.

ARS aims to deliver cutting-edge, scientific tools and novel solutions for American farmers, producers, industry and communities and to sustain the country’s agroecosystems and natural resources and to ensure the economic competitiveness and to uphold the excellence of American agriculture.

Recently, the USDA and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have announced Next Gen Fertilizer Challenges.

The joint EPA-USDA partnership and competition is expected to advance agricultural sustainability in the country.

The competition has two challenges seeking proposals for new and existing fertiliser technologies to maintain and/ or improve crop yield while the negative impact of the fertilisers is reduced.