New USDA Vegetable Laboratory Dedicated
Today By Luis
August 20, 2003
CHARLESTON, S.C., Aug. 20--A new, state-of-the-art
vegetable research facility dedicated here today will give scientists with the
U.S. Department of Agriculture and
Clemson University the tools to continue
bringing new and improved varieties to breeders and consumers.
The new complex provides research and office space for 20
scientists--13 from the Agricultural Research Service's
U.S. Vegetable Laboratory
located here, and seven from the university. ARS is USDA's chief in-house scientific
"Combining the regional USDA and Clemson research staffs into
one facility will optimize the use of equipment and other resources, and will
stimulate cooperative interaction between the department and the university,"
said Rodney J. Brown, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for
Research, Education and Economics,
during a dedication ceremony with state and local officials. "The Clemson
Center and the U.S. Vegetable Laboratory are already internationally recognized
for their distinguished research programs on important vegetable crops. The new
facility will further expand scientists' capabilities to perform excellent
studies that will have a significant impact on agriculture worldwide."
U.S. Vegetable Laboratory researchers include plant geneticists,
physiologists, pathologists, entomologists, nematologists and weed scientists.
This laboratory has developed and released more than 160 improved vegetable
varieties and breeding lines. The Clemson Center has developed and released
more than 40.
Many of these improved vegetables have gained wide recognition
and acceptance. Notables include Charleston Gray and Congo watermelons,
Planter's Jumbo cantaloupe, Goldcoast snap bean, Homestead tomato, Wando pea,
Charleston Hot pepper, Charleston Greenpack southernpea, Polaris cucumber,
Charleston Belle bell pepper and Ranger squash.
Laboratory scientists have released many disease- and
pest-resistant breeding stocks used worldwide to develop hybrid vegetables. In
addition, they also study the biology and ecology of vegetable diseases and
pests in order to develop new, environmentally compatible control methods that
rely on biocontrol, host-plant resistance and other integrated pest management
The new facility replaces many of the old buildings housing the
U.S. Vegetable Laboratory and Clemson University's Coastal Research and
Education Center. Most were built during the 1930s and did not allow for
expansion to meet future program requirements. The new facility consolidates
laboratory and office operations into one location, on the north side of U.S.
Highway 17 in Charleston.
Containing all the offices, laboratories and other physical
plant requirements to support the two research staffs and allow for some
expansion, the complex represents the first phase of a new research facility.
This phase, which includes the 54,000-square-foot laboratory, cost $20.5
million. The next phase, which is being designed, will add 55,800 square feet
of headhouse and greenhouse area.
The U.S. Vegetable Laboratory solves vegetable production and
protection problems common to the Southeast. Most of these problems are also of
national importance. Studies focus on broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard,
cucumber, snap bean, squash, tomato, melon, pepper (hot and bell), southernpea,
sweetpotato and watermelon.
This laboratory is one of 17 research facilities in ARS'
South Atlantic Area, which includes
Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.