North Dakota lawmakers seek genotyping center in Fargo

By Breanne Brammer

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WASHINGTON July 1, 2014 - The three members of North Dakota's congressional  delegation are urging the National Corn Growers Association to house the new National Agricultural Genotyping Center in Fargo, on the North Dakota State University (NDSU) campus.

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In a letter to the NCGA, Senators Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven and Rep. Kevin Cramer said the center would be able to use existing research infrastructure and to collaborate with scientists at NDSU. They described the opportunity as a “win-win” for all parties involved. The USDA's Agricultural Research Service has a facility on the NDSU campus.

“The potential here for innovation is tremendous and I look forward to working with the Association to make sure North Dakota remains the national leader in agriculture well into the future,” the lawmakers said in the letter.

The National Agricultural Genotyping  Center is a non-profit corporation that focuses on agricultural research to develop new tests for plant diseases in corn, soybeans, and other crops. It is being established through a partnership with NCGA, the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

According to a press release from Heitkamp, NDSU is the ideal location for the center because of its affiliation with USDA's Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center, its 14 public crop-breeding programs and a new advanced greenhouse. North Dakota is also the leading state in crop diversity with 42 varieties eligible for planting each year, she noted.

The goals of the project are to help increase food production, security and safety, to make high-throughput genotyping available to all agriculturists, and to drive business development in the bio-economy.

Ken Colombini, the NCGA's director of communications, said no date has been set to choose a site for the center.

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