Work on the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility continues

Ron Trewyn

Construction of the $1.25 billion National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) remains on track with the last round of government funding--$300 million--expected to be approved by Congress in next year's budget.

The lab, which will study swine flu, foot and mouth disease and other livestock ailments, is being moved from Plum Island off of Long Island, NY, to just off the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan, KS. The final $300 million allocation will be used to build the facility's main lab.

With site preparation complete, the lab's central utility plant is about 60% done, the Kansas City Business Journal reported.

"I think people have sort of lost track of what's happening with it," Ron Trewyn, the bio-agrodefense facilitator at the university, told the KCBJ. "Things tend not to move real quickly in Washington ... I'm not sure people understand that there are things happening on the site currently."

Kansas was selected as the site of the new facility, replacing the aging Plum Island lab, following a 3-year process that included assessments of the environmental and security risks involved.

It is also hoped the new NBAF facility will attract animal health companies to locate operations in the region. Midwest Veterinary Services built a $5 million animal health biosafety level 2 facility on the outskirts of Manhattan, KS, to be near the NBAF when it is up and operating, Trewyn said.

Completion for the NBAF lab was scheduled for 2018.

- read the KCBJ story