President Obama’s 2014 budget proposal to Congress asks for funds to “develop countermeasures for diseases originating from large animals that can be transmitted to humans, " including $714 million for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas.
The news has already been interpreted by supporters as a green light for the $1.15-billion federal animal disease lab known as NBAF, the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, in Manhattan, Kansas.
Senator Pat Roberts said the proposal represents the administration’s support for NBAF.
The Kansas Secretary of Agriculture says he’s moving most of state Agriculture Department to Manhattan. Secretary Dale Rodman says the agriculture in Kansas will benefit from being part of what he’s calling “the synergies” between Kansas State University and a burgeoning animal and plant science industry.
The move will allow the Kansas department to work more closely and avoid redundancies with bioscience research and commerce already going on in Manhattan.
From his farm’s headquarters in Nevada, Iowa, Mark Kenney can see his childhood home and farm. Not pictured, but also within sight, is the original piece of farmland Kenney’s great-great grandfather bought, which is still part of the operation that Kenney runs with his father and brother-in-law.
“Farmers didn’t necessarily have a great crop to harvest, but they harvested a huge amount of income last year. It was one of the biggest years, inflation-adjusted, since going back to the 1970s,” said Roger McEowen, who runs the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation at Iowa State University.
Kevin Wells has been genetically engineering animals for 24 years.
“It’s sort of like a jigsaw puzzle,” said Wells recently as he walked through his lab at the University of Missouri - Columbia. “You take DNA apart and put it back together in different orders, different orientations.”
A senior official from the President’s Office of Management and Budget told two Congressmen he would be mindful of their concerns regarding the cost and safety of the proposed National Bio and Ago-Defense Facility (NBAF) in considering how much to allocate for NBAF in the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget.
OMB Deputy Director of Management Jeffrey Zients told Congressmen Tim Bishop and Joe Courtney that the administration was forced to evaluate the proposal for a new large-animal disease lab in the context of current budget constraints.