Government Innovation Research USDA

The Sam Farr Crop Research Center Opens

The newly opened Sam Farr Crop Research Center in Salinas, California, marks a significant advance in U.S. agricultural research.
Key Takeaways
  • The Sam Farr United States Crop Improvement and Protection Research Center is a newly opened, state-of-the-art facility dedicated to advancing agricultural research in fruit and vegetable crops.
  • The center, located in Salinas, California, represents a significant expansion of the ARS Crop Improvement and Protection Research Laboratory with modern laboratories and increased capacity for scientists.
  • Named after retired Representative Sam Farr, the facility honors his legacy and contributions to agricultural research funding and initiatives.
  • The collaboration between ARS, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the University of California, Davis, is poised to drive innovation in addressing crop diseases and challenges.
  • With the capacity to foster significant economic impact, every dollar invested in agricultural research like that at the Sam Farr Research Center is estimated to generate $20 in economic return.

Salinas, California, a region known for its lush agricultural landscape, has just fortified its status as a bastion of agricultural innovation with the opening of the Sam Farr United States Crop Improvement and Protection Research Center. The ribbon-cutting ceremony marked not just the inauguration of a facility but also a renewed commitment to the future of American agricultural science.

It is named after the retired Congressman Sam Farr, a staunch advocate for agricultural research and development. The over 117,000-square-foot research center ushers in a new era of possibilities. This impressive complex comes equipped with the latest laboratory technology and sophisticated greenhouses and is designed to support an expanded team of world-class scientists.

During a ceremony steeped in history and forward-looking optimism, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young highlighted the center’s potential to revolutionize how we approach plant diseases that threaten our fruit and vegetable industries. The clear message: this facility is not just a building of walls and windows but a hub of solutions for tomorrow’s agricultural challenges.

The center stands on the shoulders of the existing ARS Crop Improvement and Protection Research Laboratory, a Salinas landmark since World War II. It symbolizes the progression of a partnership that spans decades among USDA, California’s research institutions, and the broader United States agricultural community.

In attendance were notable figures such as the virtual presence of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and other leaders who have played a pivotal role in agricultural policymaking and research advocacy. Their speeches underscored the importance of this center to the nation’s agricultural prowess.

The Agricultural Research Service, as USDA’s chief scientific in-house research agency, is tasked with the formidable challenge of finding solutions to agricultural problems that affect America daily. The new Sam Farr Research Center is poised to be at the forefront of this mission, with the promise of generating a substantial economic impact. It’s a testament to the value of investing in agricultural research, where each dollar can yield a twenty-fold return on investment.

As attendees toured the facility, from its gleaming laboratories to the expansive greenhouses, there was a palpable sense of entering a new chapter in agricultural research—one where the dedication of scientists, the wisdom of agricultural policy, and the spirit of innovation come together. 

Image provided by the USDA

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