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Pioneering Agriculture Research: Groundbreaking for $65.9 Million Forage Animal Production Lab in Kentucky
Kentucky Ag Connection - 05/24/2023

Senator Mitch McConnell and officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture came together at the University of Kentucky to mark the commencement of construction for a groundbreaking agriculture research building. The upcoming $65.9 million Forage Animal Production Lab is set to encompass over 52,000 square feet, housing offices, laboratories, collaborative spaces, and greenhouses. The focus of the research conducted in this cutting-edge facility will be on enhancing the productivity, sustainability, and competitiveness of beef cattle, horses, sheep, and goat farms, with a special emphasis on small- and medium-sized operations.

Dubbed the Forage-Animal Production Research Unit, the new building will bring forth design upgrades and expand Kentucky's research capacity in the field of agriculture. Scheduled for completion in 2026, the project is financed by federal funding and aims to translate fundamental scientific discoveries into practical applications that directly benefit producers.

The Forage Animal Production Lab will be staffed by six scientists from the USDA's Agricultural Research Service and seven researchers from the University of Kentucky, in addition to laboratory technicians and administrative personnel. UK President Eli Capilouto expressed his appreciation to Senator McConnell for his instrumental role in securing federal funding for the building, emphasizing the significant impact it will have on the entire Commonwealth.

With the United States ranking as the largest producer of beef globally, and Kentucky being the eighth-largest beef producer in the nation, the new research facility is poised to further elevate the state's multi-billion dollar agriculture industry. By focusing on cattle and equine industries, the lab will contribute to the advancement of high-tech, advanced agricultural research, reinforcing Kentucky's position as a leading hub in the field.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack lauded the lab's potential for fostering collaboration among scientists and generating research outcomes with far-reaching implications for the agricultural sector. The facility's establishment exemplifies a commitment to supporting farmers and ensuring their sustainability through innovative and creative approaches.

As the Forage Animal Production Lab takes shape, it heralds a new era of pioneering research and collaboration that will drive the progress of sustainable farming practices, benefitting not only Kentucky but also the wider agricultural community across the nation.

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