Friday, April 12, 2024

New Ag Research Facility Underway

The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service have broken ground on a new state-of-the-art research facility housing the Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory and the Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit.

Located on the UGA Tifton campus, the research facility will include a new, 31,000-square-foot building housing university and ARS employees working on climate-smart agricultural research. The new facility will advance research ranging from conserving water resources in the southern Coastal Plain to the management of insect pests and pollinators in agricultural landscapes, and the development of resilient and sustainable cropping and forage systems in the Southeastern United States.

“Cutting-edge research keeps American agriculture competitive and helps farmers and ranchers stay ahead of emerging threats like climate change and pests and diseases,” says Chavonda Jacobs-Young, USDA chief scientist and undersecretary for research, education and economics. “We are grateful for our longstanding partnership with scientists and students at UGA-Tifton, and we look forward to seeing this state-of-the-art facility foster additional innovation, breakthroughs and even recruitment of new talent to our organizations.”

Advancing Climate-Smart Research

The partnership between CAES and USDA ARS highlights the importance of bringing cutting-edge research to the heart of south Georgia agriculture and preparing the next generation of agricultural leaders to take the world stage through experiential education.

“State and federal scientists stationed at the UGA Tifton campus have a long history of working together to solve some of the most difficult production challenges in the Southeast. This building will improve our collective ability to recruit top scientists, provide laboratory space for cutting-edge approaches and leverage existing campus assets,” says UGA-Tifton assistant dean Michael Toews.

The project will bring the researchers together into one facility, providing updated workspaces and enhancing collaboration across disciplines to benefit farmers, producers, industry and communities.

Great News For Peanut Breeding Efforts

The Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit conducts research to solve agricultural and environmental problems of regional and national interest through developing new and improved breeding methods, management practices, pest management strategies and more. Peanut research includes breeders and geneticists with varying focus, from traditional cultivar development to breeding with wild relatives, molecular genetics, genomics and high throughput phenotyping. Peanut geneticists in this unit include Peggy Ozias-Akins, David Bertioli and Soraya Bertioli, as well as Corley Holbrook with USDA ARS. Peanut breeders include Bill Branch and Nino Brown.

The $29.6 million project will include the construction of one new building and the renovation of an existing building. The project is slated for completion in January 2026. PG


Learn about research initiatives on the UGA Tifton campus at tifton.caes.uga.edu.

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