Nov 6, 2023
USDA celebrates the opening of new research center

The USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the newly constructed Sam Farr United States Crop Improvement and Protection Research Center in Salinas, California.

The over 117,000-square-foot research center features state-of-the-art laboratories, greenhouses and the capacity for additional scientists. It expands on the current ARS Crop Improvement and Protection Research Laboratory, which has been located at the site since the end of World War II, and will house employees from ARS, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the University of California, Davis.

During the ceremony, attendees celebrated the past, present and future of fruit and vegetable research between USDA and research partners in California and throughout the United States.

“This research center is on the cutting edge of technology and within its walls are solutions to address viral, fungal and bacterial diseases impacting our nation’s fruit and vegetable industries,” said USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young. “This expansion is part of USDA’s commitment to support innovative crop research that will best serve our customers, stakeholders and the scientific community.”

The research center is dedicated to retired Representative Sam Farr, who represented California’s Central Coast in the United States House of Representatives for more than 23 years until his retirement from office in 2016. Farr also served six years as a member of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors and 12 years in the California State Assembly. Farr led the charge for the new research facilities.

Other leaders who spoke at the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony included:

  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (provided virtual remarks)
  • Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
  • Former Rep. Jack Kingston
  • Robert Rivas, Speaker of the California State Assembly
  • Dr. Simon Liu, ARS Administrator
  • Dr. Tara McHugh, ARS Pacific West Area Director
  • Dr. Bill Wintermantel, Research Leader and Location Coordinator of the Sam Farr United States Crop Improvement and Protection Research Center

The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar invested in U.S. agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact.

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