Potential for improved infrastructure at the Cereal Disease Lab gets support from U.S. Representative McCollum

The National Barley Improvement Committee (NBIC), which represents the U.S. barley community of growers, researchers, processors, users, and allied industries, would like to thank Representative McCollum for her acknowledgement of the important role the cereal grain industry plays in Minnesota and throughout the region through her Community Project Funding request for the planning and design of a new Cereal Disease Laboratory (CDL). The CDL is based in St. Paul Minnesota, which is within McCollum’s home 4th district. The USDA Agricultural Research Service CDL has long been a hub of barley related research. Most recently, work there on various rust diseases and fusarium head blight have been supported through the Barley Pest Initiative and the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative, respectively. Unfortunately, despite the increase in federal investment in research, the infrastructure housing the cooperating scientists has run out of room and is limiting expansion of additional work. 

Rep. McCollum submitted a Community Project Funding request for FY23 through the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations process on behalf of the University of Minnesota, the home of the CDL and potential partner for a new facility. The request of $8 million is to support the planning and design phase of a new facility. 

Full request found here:

The funding would be used for the planning and design phase of a new next generation Cereal Disease Laboratory facility in St. Paul, MN. As the premier cereal disease research laboratory, these investments are critical if we are to continue making gains in addressing new and emerging highly pathogenic strains in wheat, or mycotoxins in corn, that not only destroy crops but cause illness and death in livestock and humans consuming the infected grain. With the complexities of our changing environment coupled with increased vulnerability to the global food supply, access to new cutting-edge technical capabilities is needed to take on growing challenges in cereal disease.

The NBIC greatly appreciates Representative McCollum’s commitment to the CDL and will continue to advocate for additional federal funding to ensure barley remains a robust and competitive crop. A portion of the funding that has already been secured through NBIC efforts has been allocated to the Cereal Disease Lab and the NBIC enthusiastically supports this project to ensure a modern and well-equipped facility to attract high-caliber scientists and researchers.