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USDA breaks ground on new soil research buildings in Alabama

Buildings will house research on conservation cropping systems, environmentally sound animal waste management and climate change.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Auburn University's College of Agriculture, and the Auburn Research Technology Foundation hosted a groundbreaking ceremony this week for its new research facility housing the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory.

The new research facility will include two new buildings at Auburn University's Research Park and two additional buildings at a second site near the university's campus. The buildings are expertly designed for current research efforts.

"With these new buildings and the continuing cooperation with our research partners at Auburn University, we believe that the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory will continue to have a substantial positive impact on agriculture all over the world," said Dr. Simon Liu, ARS acting administrator.

The buildings will house research on conservation cropping systems, environmentally sound animal waste management, and global climate change. Research efforts will also focus on improved poultry production practices, cotton disease control, improved forage production, and the use of biochar in agriculture.

"The National Soil Dynamics Laboratory and Auburn University scientists are considered national leaders in the development of economical and environmentally sound crop management systems for production agriculture in the Southeast and are leading the way in the new national focus on soil and water quality to maintain the productivity of our nation's farms," said Dr. Allen Torbert, supervisory research soil scientist and research leader for the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory.

Leaders who spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony included:

  • Sen. Richard Shelby, U.S. senator for Alabama
  • Dr. Christopher B. Roberts, president of Auburn University
  • Dr. Paul Patterson, dean of Auburn University's College of Agriculture and director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Bill Dean, executive director of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation
  • James "Jimmy" Sanford, chair of the student affairs committee of the Auburn University Board of Trustees, and president of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation

The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency.

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