The Plains Area is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, the main scientific arm of the department.
The PA is one of five ARS "areas" in the country and includes 22 research locations in the following ten states: Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.
The PA employs 225 scientists in multiple disciplines including entomology, ecology, molecular genetics, plant pathology, botany, agronomy, water management, microbiology, rangeland and weed sciences, and soil sciences.
The PA employs an additional 775 personnel skilled as support scientists, purchasing agents, accountants, IT specialists, engineers and more.
The PA is a great place to begin, serve or end your career and that's not just our opinion. In 2006 our Clay Center, Nebraska location was selected by "The Scientist" as one of the best 30 places to work in America.
There are usually between 85 and 100 appropriated-fund research projects underway in the PA at any one time.
In addition to research focused on issues of importance to production agriculture and the environment, the PA also includes the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Center in Grand Forks, ND, which has been a world leader in human mineral nutrition research for more than 30 years.
PA scientists tackle cutting edge research in state-of-the-art facilities, while at the same time living in western communities where there's plenty of fresh air and elbow room, friendly people and outdoor activities, low crime and short commutes.
The PA is home to 42% of our Nation's rangeland, one-third of its cropland, 13% of its surface water, and the largest wildlife habitats of any region in the lower 48 states.
Farmers in the Plains provide our Nation with 51% of its barley, 46% of its wheat, 44% of its grain sorghum, 37% of its sorghum silage, 32% of its sheep and lambs, 27% of its cows and calves, and between 13-24% of its oats, forage, grain corn, silage corn, soybeans, hogs, and pigs, with a combined value of approximately $34 billion annually.