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Inside the USDA's Defense Against Agro-Bio Threats at NBAF

The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), a a critical part of the USDA, is a state-of-the-art laboratory designed to protect the United States from emerging agricultural threats.

NBAF is an integral part of the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and stands at the forefront of protecting the United States' agricultural and food systems. Located in Manhattan, Kansas, NBAF is set to replace the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center, offering advanced capabilities to combat biological threats to livestock and agriculture. To shed light on this vital institution, we spoke with Stephanie Jacques, Public Affairs Specialist at NBAF.

NBAF represents a significant leap in the United States' biosecurity infrastructure. The facility is equipped with BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories, which are capable of handling the most dangerous pathogens affecting both livestock and humans. These advanced labs enable researchers to study diseases like foot-and-mouth disease, classical swine fever, and African swine fever, among others.

NBAF's mission extends beyond research. The facility also focuses on diagnostics, training, and partnerships with other federal agencies, international bodies, and the private sector. This comprehensive approach ensures that NBAF is not only a center for scientific discovery but also a pivotal player in the global fight against agro-bio threats.

One of the key roles of NBAF is to stay ahead of emerging threats. The facility's researchers are engaged in continuous surveillance and study of new pathogens that could potentially devastate the agricultural sector. By understanding these threats early, NBAF can help develop timely responses to mitigate their impact.

As NBAF prepares to become fully operational, the focus is on expanding its capabilities and continuing to build a resilient agricultural defense system. The facility's cutting-edge research and collaborations will play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and security of the nation's food supply for years to come.

Stephanie Jacques is a public affairs specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF). As part of NBAF's communications team, Mrs. Jacques works connect NBAF scientists with the public -- especially the local and agricultural communities -- to build trust and communicate NBAF's mission, accomplishments and safety measures. Mrs. Jacques has a Bachelor of Science in agricultural communications and a minor in biology from Kansas State University. She also is a Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program Class IX graduate.

For more information about the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility and its mission, visit the USDA's official NBAF webpage at


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