US (WI): Baldwin, Pocan visit West Madison ARS to celebrate plant germplasm research facility funding

On April 15, 2022, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Representative Mark Pocan visited the West Madison Agricultural Research Station to announce $37.9M in federal funding for a new plant germplasm research facility. Chancellor Rebecca Blank and Dean Kate VandenBosch hosted the visit.

The new federal facility will replace the Carrot and Beet Lab and the Horticulture Annex as a resource for Madison-based plant breeders working at UW–Madison and with the Vegetable Crops Research Unit of the USDA Agricultural Research Service. The 50,000 square foot building will include dry work rooms for separating seed from plant materials, cold storage for tubers, roots and seeds that require low temperature and low humidity, and meeting space protected from the elements. These state-of-the-art facilities will expand research capabilities and provide an excellent learning environment for students.

During the tour, Dean VandenBosch explained, “Developing new plant varieties is critical to a healthy food system and a healthy environment, and it is also facility-intensive science. In addition to labs, it requires land to grow the crops; well-ventilated spaces for cleaning seeds straight from the field; and environmentally-controlled storage to conserve the genetic materials for study and crop breeding in the future.”

Kate VandenBosch, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, shook hands with United States Senator Tammy Baldwin and United States Representative Mark Pocan following a tour of West Madison Agricultural Research Station on Apr. 15. Photo by Bryce Richter / UW–Madison. 

Julie Dawson (at left), associate professor in the Department of Horticulture, explained her Seed to Kitchen Collaborative, which engages chefs, farmers and gardeners in evaluating new vegetable varietals, to CALS Dean Kate VandenBosch, UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank, United States Representative Mark Pocan, and United States Senator Tammy Baldwin. Graduate student Ambar Cavallo and postdoc Jenyne Loarca (standing near Dawson) also participated in the event on Apr. 15. Photo by Bryce Richter / UW–Madison. 

Senator Tammy Baldwin addressed the group, discussing the importance of agricultural innovation in Wisconsin. Photo by Bryce Richter / UW–Madison. 


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