The new Poisonous
Plant Research Laboratory building at Logan, Utah, is headquarters for the only
federal research team investigating pasture and rangeland plants that poison
livestock and wildlife. Click the image for a larger
New ARS Poisonous Plant Research Lab
Dedicated By Marcia Wood November 16, 2004
LOGAN, Utah, Nov. 16, 2004--The
Agricultural Research Service today
dedicated a new $8.5 million building here to house its
Plant Research Laboratory on the campus of Utah State University. ARS is the chief
scientific research agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.
ARS opened its poisonous plant laboratory on the Utah State campus in
1954. The laboratory is the nation's only federal facility specializing in
research on toxic rangeland plants such as locoweed, lupine and larkspur. These
plants weaken, deform and kill cattle, sheep, horses, goats and wildlife such
as deer and elk.
Larkspur is among the weeds
toxic to livestock that are studied by ARS researchers in Logan.
The new 26,700-square-foot building will provide office and laboratory
space for scientists, technicians and others specializing in chemistry,
veterinary toxicology, veterinary pathology and rangeland science.
"These experts pinpoint the natural toxins in rangeland plants and
develop effective tactics ranchers and wildlife managers can use to protect
their grazing animals from these harmful weeds," said Rodney J. Brown, USDA's
Deputy Under Secretary for Research,
Education and Economics.
For example, researchers at the Logan laboratory were the first to
identify a toxin in ponderosa pine needles that causes cattle to abort, a
discovery that is an important first step toward developing an antidote. Their
investigations of lupines that cause cleft palate in cattle and goats are being
closely followed by medical researchers studying this birth defect in human
"Our Logan scientists have earned a reputation for world-class
research," noted ARS Administrator
B. Knipling. "This new building provides an up-to-date, high-tech working
environment where these experts and their co-investigators can continue to
broaden and deepen our knowledge of poisonous plants on U.S. pastures and
Today's dedication ceremony also marked more than a century of
poisonous plant research conducted under the auspices of the USDA, according to
James, laboratory director.