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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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1 - Modernization
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Ames Modernization Background Information

Improving competitiveness in the world market, enhancing our nation's livestock industries, and protecting against emerging diseases more than ever depends on maintaining disease-free animals and ensuring that systems are in place to respond to disease outbreaks. Healthy livestock are fundamental to a safe food supply for the American public. Competition is tough. Competing nations; e.g., Australia, Canada and Germany, have, or will soon have, major new national animal disease facilities to meet animal health demands.

Key industry groups, including the Animal Agriculture Coalition, the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the U.S. Animal Health Association, among others, have strongly emphasized the urgent need for these new facilities.

The existing Ames animal health facilities are over 40 years old and have far surpassed their expected structural lifespan. In addition to structural inadequacies, the overall needs for animal health work have changed since the facilities were built. The U.S. must keep abreast of these changes to ensure the strength of our $100 billion livestock industries and the well-being of the public.

Big changes include:

the emergence of significant new animal diseases around the world that threaten the US, like bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) in Europe.

2) threats to human welfare from infectious agents in food, like Salmonella and E. coli

3) changes in international trade practice requiring more scientific evidence of "freedom from disease" before livestock commodities can be exported.

4) the development of new international standards for biocontainment, animal handling, health, safety and quality assurance.

In 1998, USDA recognized an excellent new opportunity: to create a single new Center encompassing work of NADC, NVSL and CVB. The joint plan promises to provide many advantages over separate new facilities including a large cash savings and a much shorter time to completion. The logic of bringing NADC-NVSL-CVB together is compelling since this will lead to greater efficiencies of operation, even closer collaborative work and the fostering of a world-class animal disease research and service culture.

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Last Modified: 8/13/2016
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