Alabama farmers will soon benefit from three new labs in Auburn, which will replace outdated facilities that are integral to safeguarding farm inputs, products and soil.
Groundbreakings in November laid the foundation for the Pesticide Residue Lab, State Chemical Lab and National Soil Dynamics Laboratory.
“More efficient, effective labs with the latest technology will directly impact Alabama farmers,” said Mitt Walker, the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Governmental & Agricultural Programs Department director. “These labs will ensure farmers are producing the highest quality products while growing safe food, fuel and fiber on healthy Alabama soils. We are grateful for these improvements and are excited to see the labs in action.”
New Pesticide Residue and State Chemical Labs will help the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries (ADAI) compete with similar facilities across the U.S. The current location has been in operation for over 50 years and was retrofitted from an animal diagnostics lab.
The Pesticide Residue Lab protects public health by reliably analyzing agricultural commodities for pesticide remnants. Samples submitted to the lab include eggs, milk, poultry, beef, fish, vegetables, water, soil and value-added foods. The lab also analyzes unusual samples, those with difficult chemistry or samples with legal implications to protect consumers and maintain Alabama farmers’ competitiveness.
While operated through ADAI, the lab also provides an independent source of data and analytical expertise to expand Environmental Protection Agency testing.
Hosted in the same space, the State Chemical Lab conducts analytical testing related to feed, fertilizer and liming materials distributed in Alabama. Chemical testing can help ensure farmers get their money’s worth when purchasing soil amendments. The lab also helps farmers rule out feed as a potential cause of illness by testing samples for contaminants.
At Auburn’s nearby Research Park, the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory was built in 1935 and expanded in 1962. The lab develops tools, practices and products to better manage soil to increase farm sustainability and profitability. This includes investigating soils’ impact on crop growth, pastureland and general conservation.