USDA officials have announced that a plan is underway to replace outdated laboratory facilities at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in Long Island, New York. USDA's Agriculture Research Service Administrator Edward Knelling and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Administrator Ron DeHaven made the announcement.

Plum Island safeguards U.S. agriculture and public health from natural and intentionally introduced foreign animal diseases.

Knelling and DeHaven said the “facilities are no longer adequate to keep pace with today’s research and diagnostic needs.”

With that in mind, USDA is now moving forward on plans to replace the Plum Island laboratories with a brand new National Biological and Agro-Defense Facility. The announcement does not mean that Plum Island will be closing now, or in the near future, nor do USDA officials know where the new facility will be located. The Department of Homeland Security will ask for proposals for conceptual designs.

National Pork Producers Council representatives are monitoring developments to determine how the replacement lab might impact foreign animal disease research, particularly with respect to the pork industry.

USDA, National Pork Producers Council.