USDA and University of Georgia Break Ground on New Agriculture Research Facility in Tifton, Georgia

Rendering of the new state-of-the-art research facility housing the ARS Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory and the Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit. (Image courtesy of Burns & McDonnell)

Tifton, GA (February 21, 2024) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the University of Georgia (UGA) College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony today for the new state-of-the-art research facility housing the Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory and the Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit.

This new research facility will include a new 31,000 square foot building on the UGA Tifton campus. ARS and university employees’ research will advance climate-smart agricultural research ranging from water resources in the southern coastal plain to the management of insect pests and pollinators in agricultural landscapes, and the development of resilient and sustainable cropping and forage systems in the southeastern United States.

"Cutting-edge research keeps American agriculture competitive and helps farmers and ranchers stay ahead of emerging threats like climate change and emerging pests and diseases. We are grateful for our longstanding partnership with scientists and students at the University of Georgia - Tifton, and we look forward to seeing this state-of-the-art facility foster additional innovation, breakthroughs, and even recruitment of new talent to our organizations," said Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics.

The partnership between ARS and UGA highlights the importance of bringing cutting edge research to the heart of south Georgia agriculture and help prepare the next generation of agricultural leaders to take the world's stage through student experience and education.

"State and federal scientists stationed at the UGA Tifton campus have a long history of working together to solve some of the most difficult production challenges in the Southeast. This building will improve our collective ability to recruit top scientists, provide laboratory space for cutting-edge approaches and leverage existing campus assets," said UGA Tifton campus Assistant Dean Dr. Michael Toews.

Other leaders who spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony included:

  • U.S. Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.
  • U.S. Rep. Austin Scott
  • Dr. Simon Liu, ARS Administrator
  • Mr. Archie Tucker, ARS Southeast Area Director