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Groundbreaking for Cutting-Edge Forage-Animal Production Research Unit in Kentucky
Kentucky Ag Connection - 05/24/2023

In a significant milestone for agricultural research, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Forage-Animal Production Research Unit (FAPRU) at the University of Kentucky. The ceremony, hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, Food and the Environment (UK-CAFE), marked the initiation of a state-of-the-art research facility that will drive advancements in farming practices.

The new FAPRU building, scheduled for completion in 2026, will encompass over 52,600 square feet, accommodating research laboratories, collaborative spaces, a headhouse, and eight-bay greenhouses. The facility will house six ARS scientists and seven university researchers, alongside laboratory technicians and administrative staff.

Highlighting the significance of partnerships with land-grant universities, Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, emphasized the role of FAPRU in developing innovative solutions to enhance agricultural productivity and resilience. The groundbreaking ceremony showcased the strong community, state, and legislative support for the longstanding collaboration between ARS and UK in pioneering forage research.

Prominent figures in attendance included U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, UK President Dr. Eli Capilouto, and Dr. Nancy Cox, Dean of UK-CAFE. Dr. Simon Liu, USDA ARS Administrator, also participated in the program, underscoring the importance of the FAPRU project in tackling the most pressing agricultural challenges.

The establishment of FAPRU aligns with USDA's recently released three-year science and research strategy, aimed at transforming the U.S. food system and supporting farmers and producers nationwide. Through cutting-edge facilities like FAPRU, USDA aims to meet the diverse needs of communities and prioritize five key areas outlined in the strategy.

In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is leading the charge in transforming America's food system by prioritizing resilient local and regional food production, promoting fair markets, ensuring access to safe and nutritious food, investing in clean-energy capabilities in rural America, and fostering equity within the Department. With FAPRU as a beacon of agricultural innovation, the collaboration between USDA and the University of Kentucky promises to revolutionize farming practices and contribute to a sustainable future for the nation's food system.

For more information about USDA's initiatives, visit

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