North Dakota farmers and researchers have a new resource to help agriculture in the state stay ahead of the curve.
The National Agricultural Genotyping Center will open a new location at the Fargo-based Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center in June. The center’s location will allow timely testing of crops and other agricultural samples to aid farmers in planning and disease prevention. The center’s connections to locations in other states, including Illinois and Iowa, will give North Dakota farmers insight into agriculture patterns and trends across the region.
The Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center is located on NDSU’s main campus in Fargo. It is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, the USDA’s chief scientific research agency.
Researchers at the center benefit from access to high-speed, robust network resources, made possible by a collaborative effort between the USDA Agricultural Research Service and NDSU’s Information Technology Division. NDSU provides advanced 10-gigabit connections between USDA facilities and national research networks, including the Agricultural Research Service’s Science Network.
"NDSU is in a unique position to extend existing high-performance network resources to connect researchers with a broad range of bandwidth-intensive resources they need to advance their work," said Terry Wieland, director of network engineering and operations at NDSU. Wieland said the collaboration between NDSU and the Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center was a key advantage in the research center’s application to serve as the location of the new National Agricultural Genotyping Center.
The center continues to manage its own network resources; however, with the connection to NDSU’s network resources in place, researchers at the center can now connect to the Internet at speeds more than 200 times faster than previously possible. Because NDSU is a member of the Northern Tier Network Consortium and Internet2 communities, the center’s researchers also have high-capacity and high-speed connectivity to more than 500 national and international academic, industry and government research sites.
"The literature reviews available through the Northern Tier Network Consortium and Internet2 allow us to connect farmers to the information they need," said Megan Palmer, lab manager of the National Agricultural Genotyping Center.
The center has already begun testing and analyzing agriculture samples for North Dakota farmers. Because of its proximity to North Dakota farms, the center is able to turn around test results in a shorter timeframe than if the samples had to be shipped to an out-of-state location.
The center has analyzed genes in several breeds of soybeans to determine which have aphid-resistant traits. The center also has begun studying deceased honeybees to determine cause of death and fend off disease in the rest of the honeybee colony.
The new location of the center will also benefit members of the NDSU community.
"We are excited for future collaboration with NDSU students, faculty and staff." Palmer said. "We are offering an internship for students and look forward to providing meaningful experience for students to prepare them for full-time positions in their science-related fields."
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