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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

2015 WERA-20 Meeting Website
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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 (toll free reservation line) or 301-474-7400 (hotel direct line) 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.

Meeting Organizers

Margarita Licha-Bateman


Beltsville, MD



Gary Kinard


Beltsville, MD



Ruhui Li

Beltsville, MD




Mark Nakhla


Beltsville, MD

(301) 313-9211


Erich Rudyj


Riverdale, MD



The conference registration and payment of the fee is due by June 5, 2015. (Hotel reservations also have the same deadline.)

For those who wish to attend the Day 1 or 2 NGS sequencing workshops only, attendance will be allowed without paying the registration fee or submitting the registration form. However, no food will be provided for non-paying July 6th and 7th attendees.

WERA-20 Registration Fee

The registration fee for the conference is $220. This includes meeting supplies, Monday-Thursday lunches, morning and afternoon breaks, the group dinner, and transportation to the U.S. National Arboretum. Friends of Agricultural Research-Beltsville (FAR-B), a non-profit support group for BARC, is helping sponsor the conference by collecting the registration fee. Click here: [] to be directed to their PayPal account to make an electronic payment for the registration fee. No on-site registrations will be accepted and no refunds can be processed for cancellations.

Spouse/Guest Participation in Group Dinner on July 8, 2015

Registered and paid attendees are invited to bring a guest to the group dinner at the U.S. National Arboretum for $60 per person. Please indicate your intention to bring a guest in the comments section of the registration form. Please be prepared to pay $60 cash for your guest’s meal and transportation no later than July 7th to one of the meeting organizers.

While completing the form below, please do not press EnterAfter you have selected both lunches, and the form is complete, click on the Submit button (below).

(* - required fields)

First Name *

Last Name *
Organization *
Email Address *
Phone Number *
Address Line 1 *
Address Line 2
City *
State * Zip * 
Country (If not USA)
  Please complete the following lunch choices if you will be participating in the meals and will be paying your $220 conference registration fee.  Otherwise, scroll down and click the "Submit Registration Request" button now.

Paid Attendees -
Selection for
July 6 - 7 Lunches

No advanced selection is needed for July 8-9 lunches. Both days will include vegetarian options.
Select lunch choice
for July 6:

Vienna One
Vienna Two
Rye? Rye Not?
San Fran Sourdough
Pumpernickel Proud
High Roller
Arlene Supreme
Multi-Grain Madness (vegetarian)

Select lunch choice
for July 7:
Italian Combo 
Asiago Steak 
Turkey Bravo 
Napa Almond Chicken Salad (sandwich)
Mediterranean Veggie 
Salad Box: Thai Chicken 
Salad Box: Fuji Apple Chicken
Salad Box: Greek Salad (vegetarian)
Dietary restrictions for group dinner
Special accessibility needs

Conference reservation must be paid in advance via the webpage established for this conference by the Friends of Agricultural Research-Beltsville, (FAR-B).[]


Descriptions of Lunch Options for July 6

Vienna One: Spicy Italian cappacola and pruscitini ham, Genoa salami, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, oil and vinegar dressing on a Vienna roll.

Vienna Two: Smoked turkey topped with spicy cappacola ham and Monterey jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, Russian dressing, and mayo on a Vienna roll.

Rye? Rye Not: Lean corned beef, creamy cole slaw, Russian dressing, and Swiss cheese served on New York rye.

San Fran Sourdough: Smoked turkey breast, crisp bacon, cucumber slices, alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, and buttermilk ranch dressing on fresh sourdough bread.

Pumpernickel Proud: Honey cured ham, stone ground mustard, lettuce, tomato, and Swiss cheese on hearty pumpernickel bread.

High Roller: Rare roast beef, mayo, lettuce, tomato red onions, and provolone cheese on a Vienna roll.

Arlene Supreme: A combination of rare roast beef and honey cured ham, lettuce, tomato, red onions, cheddar cheese, and mayo on a Vienna roll.

Multi-Grain Madness (vegetarian): Monterey jack cheese, cucumber slices, sliced carrots, alfalfa sprouts, sliced mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, red onions, and hummus on fresh multi-grain bread.

Chicken Sandwich: Chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, and crisp bacon on a soft sandwich roll.

Descriptions of Lunch Options for July 7
(Panera Bread)

Italian Combo: Seared steak, smoked turkey breast, lean ham, salami, Swiss cheese, peperoncini, lettuce tomatoes, red onions, and special sauce on ciabatta bread

Asiago Steak: Seared steak, smoked cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and horseradish sauce on asiago cheese bread.

Turkey Bravo: Smoked turkey breast, applewood smoked bacon, smoked gouda, lettuce, tomatoes, and signature sauce on tomato basil bread.

Napa Almond Chicken Salad (sandwich): Chicken, diced celery, seedless grapes, almonds, lettuce, tomatoes, and special dressing on sesame semolina bread.

Mediterranean Veggie: Zesty sweet piquant peppers, feta, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and cilantro jalapeno hummus on tomato basil bread.

Salad box Thai Chicken: Chicken, romaine lettuce, Thai cashews, fire roasted endame, red pepper and carrot blend, cilantro and wonton strips tossed with low fat Thai chili vinaigrette and drizzled with peanut sauce.

Salad box Fuji Apple Chicken: Chicken, field greens, romaine, tomatoes, red onions, pecans, gorgonzola and apple chips tossed with balsamic apple vinaigrette.

Salad box Greek salad (no meat): Romaine, tomatoes, feta, peperoncini, red onions, kalmata olives and pepper tossed in a Greek dressing.

Last Modified: 5/1/2015
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