The Department of Agriculture dedicated a new laboratory building in late April as the final component of the National Centers for Animal Health, marking the end of a decade-long modernization project.
The NCAH consolidates three USDA units that already had headquarters in Ames, Iowa—the National Animal Disease Center, National Veterinary Services Laboratories, and Center for Veterinary Biologics. The AVMA strongly supported updating the units.
"The new NCAH will help create jobs and economic opportunity in America's rural communities by supporting livestock producers across the country," said Tom Vilsack, U.S. agriculture secretary. "This new facility will not only save taxpayers money, but will help the men and women who work here in Ames provide the critical advancements needed to maintain the success of the industry."
The National Animal Disease Center conducts research on diseases of economic importance to the livestock and poultry industries. The National Veterinary Services Laboratories operate diagnostic bacteriology and virology laboratories as well as a pathobiology laboratory at Ames. The Center for Veterinary Biologics tests vaccines and other biologics and inspects plants that manufacture biologics.
The $460 million, multiphase project to modernize the NCAH included construction of new laboratories and high- and low-containment housing for large animals. The AVMA supports an increase in operational funding for the NCAH to cover the increase in operational costs.