Brookings scientists are
searching for eco-friendly tactics for controlling the corn rootwormthe
number-one pest of corn. It costs farmers hundreds of millions of dollars a
year in pesticides and lost crop yields. Click the image for more
information about it.
USDA Lab Committed to Sustainable Farming Gets New
Research Wing By Erin Peabody April
WASHINGTON, April 20A U.S.
Department of Agriculture laboratory whose mission includes finding
nonchemical solutions to agricultural pests across the nation's Midwest
officially unveiled a new research wing today.
This morning, officials at the North Central Agricultural Research
in Brookings, S.D., dedicated new laboratory and office space, part of which
will serve as a technology transfer area for accommodating farmers, growers and
other customers who benefit from the Brookings scientists' research. The lab is
administered by the Agricultural Research
Service, USDA's chief in-house scientific research agency.
"For more than 20 years, the NCARLthrough its world-class
insect-rearing facilityhas provided critical support to national efforts
to rein in the troubling pest known as the corn rootworm," said ARS
B. Knipling. "If left unchecked, this insect could inflict serious damage
to the nation's Cornbelt."
The new addition will also help support another of the Brookings
scientists' objectives: developing technologies that will make ethanol fuel
production more efficient and profitable.
Formerly known as the Northern Grain Insects Research Laboratory, the
expanded ARS research facility changed its name about a year ago to reflect a
renewed and focused commitment to north central Plains crop production and soil
and water conservation. The NCARL encompasses the Eastern South Dakota Soil and
Water Research Farm, which is engaged in research projects concerned with clean
water, clean air, soil stewardship and sustainable agriculture.
U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson delivered the keynote address. Other speakers
included USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics
Pierson, and Knipling.
The original Brookings research facility was built in 1960 and opened
its doors the following year. Funds for the South Dakota laboratory had been
set aside by the U.S. Congress in response to the persistent insect pests that
were known to plague the region, including the destructive corn borer,
wireworms, grasshoppers and aphids.
Since then, Brookings researchers have developed numerous
biologically-based tools to help battle troubling insects. With their research
partners, including South Dakota State
University, they have developed recommendations to control soybean aphids
and corn rootworms. They've also developed more diverse and ecologically
friendly crop rotation systems for farmers across the north central region of