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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

2015 WERA-20 Meeting Website
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Welcome to the 2015 WERA-20 Meeting Website

Meeting Time and Location

WERA-20 is a Multistate Research Activity on Virus and Virus-like Diseases of Fruit Trees, Small Fruits, and Grapevines. The project is coordinated by the Western Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors. Participant scientists from the public and private sector gather for an annual meeting to exchange information, discuss research, and plan collaborations.

The 2015 WERA-20 meeting will be July 6-10, 2015 at the USDA-ARS Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in Building 005. Click here for a map of the BARC-West campus. Visitor badges will be arranged in advance for non-federal employee registered attendees and ready upon your arrival. Federal government employees should display their photo ID badges at all times while on the BARC campus.

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WERA-20 Meeting Overview

July 6, 2015: Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Workshop Day 1. Speakers will discuss the technical advantages and limitations of NGS as a tool to detect virus and virus-like pathogens, especially in the context of quarantine, certification, and clean stock programs.

July 7, 2015: Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Workshop Day 2. The entire day will be dedicated to a forum among scientists on the possibilities for incorporating NGS into service programs. Many staff from the Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Program Unit of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will be in attendance to engage with stakeholders.

July 8, 2015: State reports and technical presentations from WERA-20 members. Group dinner at the U.S. National Arboretum (USNA) in the early evening. Transportation to and from the USNA will be provided.  

July 9, 2015: Continued state reports and technical presentations from WERA-20 members.

July 10, 2015: Optional tour of USDA-APHIS National Plant Germplasm Quarantine Center at Building 580.

Air Transportation

The region is served by three airports and all are viable options for travel plans for attendees from outside the area. BWI is the closest of the three airports to Beltsville, MD.  It is feasible to use mass transit to travel from Reagan National Airport to the Greenbelt Metro Station, followed by a short taxi ride to the hotel.

 Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport BWI
 Dulles Airport IAD 
 Reagan National Airport DCA

Ground Transportation

If you prefer to avoid obtaining a rental car, Super Shuttle ( provides shared van service to/from all three airports to area locations.

The mass transit system that serves the metropolitan Washington, DC area is called Metro. The WERA-20 host hotel is about 2 miles from the Greenbelt Station on the Green line. The Hilton Garden Inn Greenbelt offers a free shuttle service to and from the Greenbelt station.


A block of rooms for WERA-20 attendees has been reserved at the Hilton Garden Inn -Greenbelt, 7810 Walker Dr., Greenbelt, MD 20770 at a rate of $134/night plus taxes. The WERA-20 rate is not available through the corporate website online booking tool. Attendees must make reservations by calling 1-800-445-8667 and asking for the WERA-20 rate.

The hotel is about 3.5 miles from the USDA campus. The hotel has a shuttle available for local trips; guests can arrange for delivery and pickup to the USDA BARC campus. A full breakfast each morning is included in the rate, as is WiFi access. Unused rooms in the WERA-20 conference block will be released after June 5, 2015 and those who make reservations after that date will pay a significantly higher rate due to the peak time for  tourism in this area.

Driving Directions from Hilton Garden Inn Greenbelt to the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center

The hotel is less than 10 minutes drive from BARC.  Parking on campus is free and plentiful. Click for printable driving directions. The ARS and APHIS hosts will also be glad to provide rides to and from the hotel. A bus will provide round trip transportation from BARC to the U.S. National Arboretum for all who are attending the group dinner on July 8, 2015.

Things To Do

Visit the official tourism sites for Washington D.C, Baltimore, MD and Annapolis, MD. One of the fantastic things, especially about D.C., is that many of the attractions, museums, and monuments are free! July is a popular tourist month and many sites will be crowded, but the Annapolis/Baltimore/Washington region is a great location for a vacation and sightseeing before or after the WERA-20 conference.

The Greenbelt Hilton Garden Inn is across the road from Greenbelt Park, operated by the U.S. National Park Service. It is a pleasant place for a stroll into nature if you have free time in the evenings.




Last Modified: 3/27/2015
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