USDA and the Department of Homeland Security celebrated the dedication and ribbon-cutting of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) this week in Manhattan, Kansas.
This facility is the first of its kind in the U.S. It offers the highest level of bio-containment laboratories and safety protocols and will allow scientists to study and diagnose critical animal diseases.
The valuable scientific information delivered by researchers at NBAF will also allow America to remain a leading contributor of countermeasures that will protect agriculture, economies, and citizens across the globe. A USDA news release also says it’s a historic investment for agriculture and our nation in ensuring the health, safety, and security of the U.S. food supply.
“America’s farmers, ranchers, and consumers count on our researchers to understand, monitor for, and develop solutions to combat a variety of high-consequence animal pathogens,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “A facility of this magnitude positions us to respond.”
NBAF will replace the 68-year-old Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) where USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) currently conduct foreign animal disease research, training and diagnostics. ARS and APHIS will transfer their research and diagnostic missions from PIADC to NBAF and will operate the facility jointly.
Even after USDA takes ownership of the facility from DHS, it will still take at least a couple of years to transfer the full science mission from PIADC to NBAF.
Sources: USDA, NAFB News Service.