Expansion Begins on USDA Forage Research
Facility By Luis
November 17, 2003
WOODWARD, Okla., Nov. 17Ground was broken here
today for a $13.7 million expansion and upgrade of an
Agricultural Research Service facility
where research on forage and livestock is conducted. ARS is the chief
scientific research agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.
The three-phase expansion of the ARS Southern Plains Range
Research Station (SPRRS) will increase
the facility's laboratory, greenhouse and office space and allow for future
expansion of the station's scientific staff.
"Since its inception in 1913, the Southern Plains Range Research
Station has conducted studies that have improved the way forage has been grown
and managed in this part of the nation," said Edward B. Knipling, acting ARS
administrator. "This increase in research space and, eventually, in the
scientific staff will make the facility an even greater asset to the livestock
Speakers at today's ceremony included Charles Onstad, director
of ARS' Southern Plains Area, which includes Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New
Mexico; and Phillip Sims, director of the Woodward facility. Bruce Benbrook,
president of the Stock Exchange Bank of Woodward, was the master of ceremonies.
The first phase of the expansion project includes construction
of a 15,100-square-foot laboratory and office wing alongside the facility's
6,336-square-foot main building. It also includes the building of a
5,200-square-foot greenhouse, as well as electrical upgrades. The two remaining
phases will involve construction of an additional office wing, another
greenhouse and chemical storage facilities, plus renovation of existing
Scientists at SPRRS develop sustainable forage and livestock
production practices and breed, select and release improved plant germplasm to
enhance Southern Plains rangeland and pastureland.
The expansion work will take place at the research station's
main campus in Woodward, which sits on about 480 acres of federal, 280 acres of
state and 160 acres of county property. An additional resource, the Southern
Plains Experimental Range, occupies approximately 4,300 acres of federal land.
It is located about 15 miles from SPRRS, near historic Fort Supply, Okla.