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Federal Government/Horses
First Posted: July 18, 2008
Oct 14, 2013

Agriculture Research Service (ARS)

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Agriculture Research Service (ARC)
Vision Statement

ARS is recognized worldwide as a leader in animal health research that delivers effective solutions to prevent and control animal diseases that impact agriculture and public health.

Mission Statement

The mission of the program is to conduct innovative cutting-edge research, which delivers effective and practical solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority.

Process for Establishing this NP Plan

An independent retrospective peer assessment of National Program (NP) 103 past performances was conducted in October 2004. A national electronic survey was also conducted in 2005 to obtain input on past performance and future research priorities. The reports (hyperlink) were presented at a Stakeholder workshop on September 19-20, 2005 in Kansas City MO. Research priorities developed with stakeholder input for the next cycle (hyperlink) served as the basis for an Action Plan for research that is relevant to the needs of U.S. agriculture.

Program Components

  • Bio-defense research

  • Genetic and biological determinants of disease susceptibility

  • Countermeasures to prevent and control zoonotic diseases

  • Countermeasures to prevent and control respiratory diseases

  • Countermeasures to prevent and control reproductive and neonatal diseases

  • Countermeasures to prevent and control enteric diseases

  • Countermeasures to prevent and control parasitic diseases

  • Countermeasures to prevent and control transmissible spongiform encephalopathies


AMES, Iowa, July 3, 2007 Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and members of Iowa's Congressional delegation helped dedicate a new USDA high-containment large animal facility here today that combines several research facilities into one location. The new facility is the second component of a multi-phase, $460 million project.

"Construction of this state-of-the-art animal health center is an important milestone in USDA's efforts to provide first-class animal health services," said Johanns. "The work here has generated tremendous benefits for livestock, agricultural workers and consumers."

The "high-containment" designation means the building is designed for optimal safety and security because the scientists will work with a variety of endemic, zoonotic and foreign animal diseases in what is called Biological Safety Level 3 (BSL3) space. This includes features such as airtight walls, filtered air and liquid waste treatment technology. Construction lasted three-and-a-half years and cost approximately $85 million.

The new building contains more than 155,000 square feet and will house cattle, bison, elk, deer, reindeer, sheep and hogs. It includes designated areas for ARS research as well as for APHIS diagnostics testing training and biologic product evaluation.

Employees in the new facility will contribute to the nation's $100 billion livestock industry by conducting research, diagnostics and training, as well as testing vaccines and evaluating veterinary biological products.

The center consolidates three units within two USDA agencies:

Agriculture Research Service's (ARS) National Animal Disease Center, which conducts research concerning animal health and diseases with an agricultural impact; Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's (APHIS) National Veterinary Services Laboratories, which serves as a national and international reference laboratory and provides diagnostic services, reagents and training; and APHIS' Center for Veterinary Biologics, which regulates vaccines, bacterins, antisera, diagnostic kits and other biological products for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of animal diseases. A consolidated lab and a low-containment animal facility are still under construction. By 2009, when the project is expected to conclude, the Ames complex will be one of the largest animal health centers in the world. It will have about one million square feet of laboratory and research facilities, including the BSL3 space.

ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency. APHIS is the department's primary agency for responding to animal and plant diseases, as well as pest threats.

Federal Government/Horses