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University of Georgia breaks ground on research facility

The 31,000-square-foot facility is dedicated to pioneering climate-smart agriculture in the Southeastern United States.

Rendering of the new state-of-the-art research facility housing the ARS Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory and the Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit.
Rendering of the new state-of-the-art research facility housing the ARS Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory and the Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit.
Burns & McDonnell

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) celebrated the groundbreaking of a new research facility at the UGA Tifton campus. The ceremony marked the beginning of a project to house the Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory and the Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit in a state-of-the-art, 31,000 square foot building.

This facility is set to advance climate-smart agricultural research, focusing on a range of critical issues including water resource management in the southern coastal plain, insect pest and pollinator management in agricultural landscapes, and the development of resilient, sustainable cropping and forage systems in the southeastern United States.

Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, underscored the importance of this initiative. “Cutting-edge research keeps American agriculture competitive," she said. Jacobs-Young also highlighted the benefits of the USDA's partnership with UGA - Tifton, anticipating that the new facility will drive innovation, breakthroughs, and talent recruitment.

The collaboration between ARS and UGA is a strategic move to position advanced agricultural research in south Georgia, aiming to prepare future agricultural leaders through hands-on student experiences and education.

Dr. Michael Toews, Assistant Dean at UGA Tifton campus, spoke about the long-standing cooperative efforts between state and federal scientists at UGA Tifton. "This building will improve our ability to recruit top scientists and provide space for cutting-edge research," Toews said.

The groundbreaking ceremony featured remarks from several other leaders, including U.S. Representatives Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. and Austin Scott, ARS Administrator Dr. Simon Liu, and ARS Southeast Area Director Mr. Archie Tucker. The event marks a significant step in enhancing agricultural research and development in the region.

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