Kansas to be home of new bio-defense lab

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Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., has been selected as the site for the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, according to U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, (R-Kan.) The U.S. Department of Homeland Security made the selection.

A final record marking the decision will be made after a comment period and is expected to follow the Department of Homeland Security’s recommendation. The facility is expected to create 1,500 construction jobs and, when operational, employ more than 300 people.

The $450-million facility will replace the aging Plum Island facility, the federal government’s current location for animal-disease research. The facility represents a powerful stimulus for the state’s economy and the region’s research aspirations.

The facility will house laboratories where researchers will study biological threats to livestock and agriculture. Security will be the highest priority at the new lab. An accidental release of pathogens could endanger Midwest livestock and pose a monumental risk to U.S. agricultural exports.

"Manhattan, Kansas State University and the State of Kansas have proven that we are the nation’s leaders in plant and animal research and industry,” said Sen. Roberts. “I am proud of the role Kansas will continue to play in agriculture security and innovation.”  Roberts is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and is Honorary Chairman of the Kansas NBAF Task Force.

The 500,000-square-foot facility is expected to have an annual operating budget of $125 million. The facility’s economic impact is estimated at $3.5 billion during its first 20 years.

Source: U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, (R-Kan.)

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