Recent history is proof that animal disease outbreaks like mad cow, foot and mouth disease, avian influenza, and African swine fever can devastate livestock industries both home and abroad. The importance of a strong defense system against animal disease cannot be overstated.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke at the ribbon cutting of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas on Wednesday. The facility will replace the 68-year-old Plum Island Animal Disease Center where USDA currently conducts foreign animal disease research, training, and diagnostics.
The new facility offers the highest quality biocontainment laboratories and safety protocols and is the first of its kind in the United States that will allow scientists to study and diagnose animal diseases.
Vilsack also recognized the efforts of former Senator Pat Roberts who advocated strongly for the project.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate built the facility to meet standards that fulfill the mission needs of the USDA. In accordance with a 2019 MOU between DHS and USDA, NBAF ownership and operation will transfer to USDA.