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Auburn, USDA break ground on national soil lab

Ground was broken Monday in Auburn on a multi-building National Soil Dynamics Laboratory, a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, Auburn University’s College of Agriculture and the Auburn Research Technology Foundation.

“With these new buildings and the continuing cooperation with our research partners at Auburn University, we believe that the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory will continue to have a substantial positive impact on agriculture all over the world,” Simon Liu, ARS acting administrator, said in a written statement.

The research facility will include two new buildings at Auburn University’s Research Park and two additional buildings at a second site near the university’s campus. 

Outgoing U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby was on hand to mark the occasion.

According to the university, the facility will house research on conservation cropping systems, environmentally sound animal waste management and global climate change. Research efforts also will focus on improved poultry production practices, cotton disease control, improved forage production and the use of biochar in agriculture.

Auburn officials had previously said $43 million in federal funding had been allocated to the project.

“The National Soil Dynamics Laboratory and Auburn University scientists are considered national leaders in the development of economical and environmentally sound crop management systems for production agriculture in the Southeast and are leading the way in the new national focus on soil and water quality to maintain the productivity of our nation’s farms,” said Allen Torbert, supervisory research soil scientist and research leader for the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory.

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