By Dr. Ralph Richardson, dean
K-State College of Veterinary Medicine
Monday, April 27, 2009
OPINION: KANSAS BEST LOCATION FOR NBAF FOR MULTIPLE REASONS INCLUDING FACILITIES ALREADY IN PLACE; WORLD-CLASS RESEARCHERS; COLLABORATION AND EXPERIENCE
Objections from Texas regarding Kansas State University's selection as the future home for NBAF fail to consider all the facts. There are many reasons why, after three years of careful consideration, Kansas and K-State were chosen over all other competitors to be home to NBAF.
One of the most important factors for selection is the ready availability of scientists and collaborators in the area of animal health at K-State and in the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, which stretches from Manhattan to Columbia, Mo. The corridor is significant because it is home to more than 120 animal health and nutrition companies and 13,000 employees.
K-State is a world leader in both the quality and quantity of scientists working on diseases of cattle and swine. One of the most attractive features presented by the Heartland BioAgro Consortium to the Department of Homeland Security was the presence of a significant number of animal health researchers at Kansas State University as well as its Biosecurity Research Institute.
The Biosecurity Research Institute in Pat Roberts Hall is a state-of-the-art 113,000 square foot Biosafety Level 3 and Biosafety Level 3-Ag facility that will allow research programs to transition from Plum Island to the NBAF without delay during the construction phase of NBAF. The Biosecurity Research Institute can host research being done with important animal and plant infectious diseases that threaten agriculture in this country and around the world.
Specifically, the Biosecurity Research Institute is already working with researchers planning to initiate projects on Rift Valley Fever, one of the infectious agents listed for study at NBAF. Of the eight listed agents, K-State can conduct research at the Biosecurity Research Institute on five of them in 2009.
Researchers from K-State work every day to protect livestock from deadly diseases affecting cattle and swine herds.
K-State is committed to enhancing animal and human health in Kansas, the United States and the world. Animal and zoonotic diseases don't recognize geographic borders. Foreign exchange opportunities are one of the best ways to acquaint the veterinarians of tomorrow with diseases they might not see in common practice. This approach will ensure that up-and-coming veterinarians understand the animal health and food safety challenges before them on a global scale.