U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, announced Monday that Auburn University will be receiving $43.3 million in federal funds to construct a new U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service and National Soil Dynamics Laboratory as part of the agency’s capital improvement strategy.
“I am proud to have secured funding for the new ARS facility in Auburn,” Shelby said. “The soil lab will serve as an outlet for the USDA to complete research that will improve crop and livestock production for Alabama and the entire nation. I look forward to the work that will result from the partnership between Auburn and the USDA, and I am confident the project will continue to enhance our state’s thriving agriculture industry.”
“The new facility will further Auburn’s drive to inspire through life-changing innovation,” said Steven Leath, Auburn University president. “Auburn will deepen its relationship with the USDA, more opportunities will emerge for our students and faculty and Auburn will be in a better position to solve real-world problems. Once again, Sen. Shelby has proven himself a champion of science and research that improves quality of life and fosters economic opportunity for farmers in Alabama and across the nation. We’re grateful to him for making it happen.”
The $43.3 million will be used to fund the new ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory. The money was provided through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (H. J. Res 31), the final Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations package signed into law on Feb. 15, 2019, which prevented a second government shutdown.
The research done at the facility will focus on improving the productive and sustainable use of soil and water resources for increased crop and livestock production. The funding will allow for relocation and construction of the new facility, which will take the place of the current laboratory at Auburn.
Agriculture is Alabama’s top revenue producing industry, generating an annual state-wide impact of over $70 billion. With over nine million acres of farmland and more than 48,500 farms, the state is a national leader in food production and a global competitor in the poultry, catfish, timber, cotton and livestock industries.
Shelby is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.