Bio and Agro-Defense Facility Takes the Stage in Kansas

Located in Manhattan, Kansas, the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility is a state-of-the-art animal disease laboratory. The facility, operated by the Department of Agriculture, helps to protect against the threat and potential impact of serious animal diseases.

NBAF will replace the 68-year-old Plum Island Animal Disease Center, where USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service currently conduct foreign animal disease research, training and diagnostics. ARS and APHIS will transfer their research and diagnostic missions from PIADC to NBAF and will operate the facility jointly.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Veterinarian Dr. Kathy Simmons talks about the new facility.

“This facility has a BSL-3 level lab, and then the most threatening pathogen lab, the BSL-4 level lab within the nucleus of the building. We were able to tour NBAF and it looks like a wonderful facility. It seems to be very well staffed, and I think the transition is going to be made here this fall of all of the scientists and the pathogens to come over from Plum Island.” 

The Department of Homeland Security has already given USDA the keys to the facility, and USDA is now working to facilitate the start of the work to be done.

“It gives us a state-of-the-art facility, we have become one of the big five now who have BSL-4 animal disease facilities. Globally, there are only five countries that do, and we are one of them. I think that gives us a leg up in a lot of work that we can do now that maybe couldn’t have as easily in the past with brand new facilities and much of the staff that have come over from Plum Island.” 

NBAF had the dedication and ribbon-cutting activities in May, and now many of the scientists from Plum Island are moving to Manhattan. Now, some of the pathogens are in the process of being moved from Plum Island to the facility in Manhattan.