National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility: operational
The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility officially opened Wednesday after nearly two decades of planning by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Homeland Security.
The $1.25 billion facility located in Manhattan, Kansas will replace the DHS’ Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York.
Secretary Tom Vilsack says its research will be critically important to protect the agricultural industry and it has the highest level of biocontainment laboratories and safety protocols in the U.S.
“And the reality is this facility has to be maintained in a very secure situation, we can’t afford any mistakes from a security perspective,” he says.
It’s located adjacent to Kansas State University. President Dr. Richard Linton says it will be the first time high-consequence zoonotic diseases affecting large livestock can be studied in the U.S.
“We anticipate tackling some of the most problematic diseases for livestock like foot and mouth disease, classical swine fever, African swine fever, and Rift Valley fever just to name a few,” he says.
A presidential directive following September 11th from President George W. Bush guided the facility’s development.
“This is a state that understands, appreciates, and respects agriculture,” Vilsack says. “And that’s the kind of state that should have a facility like this because I’m confident you’ll make sure every single day this facility does its job for American farmers, ranchers, and producers.”
The Agricultural Research Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will oversee its operation.
Photo courtesy of USDA.