April 24, 2006
ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Laura McGinnis, (301) 504-1654,
A new U.S. Department of
Agriculture research facility was dedicated here today,
beginning a new era of research for scientists who are
developing environmentally friendly agricultural practices for
The U.S. Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center (USALARC) boasts
a state-of-the-art data communications system and
top-of-the-line analytical and research equipment. The $27
million facility covers 100,000 square feet and will support 26
permanent researchers, two visiting scientists, several
postdoctoral scientists and about 80 support personnel. USALARC
is part of USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS).
"Scientists will focus on understanding the complex
relationships between cropping systems, water management and the
environment," said ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling. "The
resulting knowledge will provide a foundation for efficient and
environmentally friendly agriculture in arid climates."
The new facility combines in one consolidated, multidisciplinary
research center the U.S. Water Conservation Research Laboratory
and Western Cotton Research Laboratory--two ARS research
facilities formerly located in Phoenix. Researchers at the U.S.
Water Conservation Laboratory developed improved methods for
crop irrigation. Scientists at the ARS Western Cotton Research
Laboratory developed integrated management techniques to improve
cotton production and control pests like the whitefly and the
At USALARC the researchers will be organized into three units:
Water Management and Conservation, Pest Management and
Biocontrol, and Plant Physiology and Genetics. The center is
under the direction of Thomas Henneberry, former research leader
of the Western Cotton Research Laboratory.
Knipling, Representatives Jim Kolbe and Ed Pastor, ARS Area
Director Dwayne Buxton, University of Arizona Experiment Station
Director Colin Kaltenbach, and Maricopa's Mayor Kelly Anderson
are expected to speak at the ceremony.
ARS is USDA's chief scientific research agency.