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Renovation Celebration
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USDA, ARS Crops Research Laboratory

Renovation Celebration - July 7, 2006

Fort Collins, Colorado






On Friday, July 7, 2006, at 10:00 a.m., the Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is planning a Renovation Celebration Ceremony at the Crops Research Laboratory (CRL) in Fort Collins, Colorado.


The Celebration planned for July 7th will commemorate the completion of a three-phase modernization project of the 30,000 square foot research complex.  The Crops Research Laboratory now contains state of the art research laboratories and greenhouse facilities that will allow the research units housed here to build on their 35 years of ground-breaking ARS research, and to increase collaborations with Colorado State University, the University of Wyoming and other regional Land Grant Universities. 


General Agricultural Research Service Information


Crops Research Laboratory


Research Units

The Central Plains Experimental Range (CPER) is a 15,500 acre grassland research station near Nunn, Colorado, established in 1937 to conduct research to improve management practices on fragile western rangelands.  Although administered first by the Forest Service, reorganization of the USDA in the Agricultural Act of 1953 transferred administration from the Forest Service to the Agricultural Research Service.  Two research programs were initiated, one in arid rangelands and pastures, another in special purpose legumes.  Scientists who worked in these two range research programs were housed at various locations in Fort Collins. 


In 1972, the two ARS range research programs in Colorado were consolidated at the Crops Research Lab to form the Forage and Range Management Research Unit.   Research of the unit focused on improving the management of semi-arid rangelands for red meat production, focusing primarily on variable animal stocking rates, and also in the development of adapted forage germplasm for use in pastures. 


A major reorganization of ARS research units in Colorado and Wyoming in 1991 split the Fort Collins range group, with about half the staff being assigned to the Great Plains Systems Research Unit (which subsequently moved to the Natural Resources Research Center in Fort Collins) and the other half joining the Grazing Management and Mined Land Reclamation Unit in Cheyenne to form the Rangeland Resources Research Unit (RRRU). 


Today the RRRU occupies three research facilities, the High Plains Grasslands Research Station near Cheyenne, the CPER, and the Crops Research Lab.  The unit builds on a long tradition of rangeland ecology research in the region, directed towards developing livestock management practices that are sustainable and profitable, and management systems which mitigate the problem of rising atmospheric greenhouse gases.  RRRU scientists collaborate with scientists from ColoradoStateUniversity, the University of Wyoming, and other near-by universities; they are co-PIs on the Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research Project, an NSF-funded collaboration with ColoradoStateUniversity and the University of Northern Colorado.  Many of the accepted grazing practices which have been instituted in the Central Great Plains are the direct results of research conducted by ARS scientists of the RRRU and its predecessors.


Website:  /main/site_main.htm?modecode=54-09-00-00



There has been a USDA-ARS (then called the Bureau of Plant Industry) sugarbeet research effort in Colorado since the mid 1920s.  In 1925 at Rocky Ford Colorado, ARS began a resistance breeding program to combat the devastation caused by the curly top virus.  For several years prior to 1926 periodic epidemics of Cercospora leaf spot, "the blight", were causing heavy losses in sugar beet production from Colorado eastward.  About this time the USDA, assigned a pathologist, Dewey Stewart, to work on this problem; he was appointed as a faculty affiliate in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Colorado State University (CSU).  This marked the beginning of cooperative research on sugar beet between the USDA and CSU that continues to this day.


In 1929 Stewart was succeeded by John Gaskill, and in 1931 G.W. Deming was appointed to the USDA-ARS Sugarbeet Research Unit (SRU).  In 1956, LeRoy Powers was instrumental in establishing and consolidating a larger SRU by arranging for two Quonset huts to be moved onto the CSU campus and for construction of two greenhouses.  These became the offices and labs of the SRU, and by 1965, the USDA-ARS sugar beet research unit consisted of four scientists. 


The original resistance breeding effort begun in Fort Collins was concentrated on the development of genetic resistance to Cercospora leaf spot and was complemented with a pathology program to provide the necessary knowledge to develop effective disease management practices.  Early work included the development of the world's first known resistance to Rhizoctonia root rot, a serious disease in many sugar beet production areas.  Research goals have expanded to include epidemiology on diseases caused by Fusarium, use of biocontrol organisms, and development of germplasms with resistance to beet curly top virus, rhizomania, and the sugarbeet cyst nematode.  These research programs resulted in the release of dozens of germplasms and breeding lines that were incorporated into sugar beet varieties and hybrids by commercial sugar beet breeders.


In the 1990's, the SRU integrated molecular biology tools into the existing genetics and breeding program, and, recently, a proteomics program was initiated.  The completion of the three-phase renovation of the Crops Research Laboratory has increased the research capacity of the SRU in Fort Collins.  State of the art research laboratories and greenhouse facilities, are allowing this ARS research program to maintain its research excellence, and increase collaborations with ColoradoStateUniversity, the University of Wyoming and other regional LandGrantUniversities.




The USDA Agriculture Research Service, CNI Construction LLC/Flintoco Inc. a Joint Venture will hold a Renovation Celebration for the newly modernized Crops Research Laboratory on Friday, July 7, 2006 at 10:00 a.m.

Crops Research Laboratory

1701 Centre Avenue

Fort Collins, Colorado

Tours and Refreshments to follow.  Please RSVP by June 28, 2006 to 970-492-7149.