The Buzz

Lots of press for the NBAF – and not all of it good.

Kansas has launched a "full-court press," in the words of Governor Kathleen Sebelius, to bring the Department of Homeland Security's National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility to Manhattan. The $450 million facility, which would replace the Department's 50-year-old Plum Island Animal Health laboratory, would bring to Kansas a slew of jobs, prestige and ancillary businesses that would be a huge boon to the state.

  • However, an Associated Press story from two weeks ago details the issues surrounding the Plum Island facility, including a leak of the Foot-and Mouth Disease virus in cattle pens adjacent to the laboratory…
  • Kansas is one of five finalists for the NBAF, but has the greatest number of cattle in surrounding counties of the finalists (some 500,000 head). FMD is very mobile and very contagious…
  • If you're wondering what the repercussions of an FMD outbreak in Kansas would be, here's this factoid from the AP article: "a simulated outbreak of the disease in 2002…ended with fictional riots in the streets after the simulation's National Guardsmen were ordered to kill tens of millions of farm animals, so many that troops ran out of bullets...the government would have been forced to dig a ditch in Kansas 25 miles long to bury carcasses."
  • A simulation, of course, but one that Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. said during a 2005 Senate hearing, "…was a mess. Deverastating results happened; utter chaos, loss of markets, people panicked."…
  • Kansas officials, particularly those at K-State, argue that the research at the NBAF would be safe. "The facility will be built in accordance with the highest sdafety standards that have kept tens of millions of residents safe in places where labs studying diseases already exist," writes Ron Trewyn, vice-president for research at K-State, in an Op-Ed piece distributed by the university…
  • Trewyn cites other laboratories in Atlanta, Winnipeg, Canada and Frederick, Maryland as examples of places where highly infectious disease are studied, with no community outbreak of disease…
  • Here's some good news: Farmers who sign up with AgraGate Climate Credits Corporation by May 1 can receive payment for 2007 carbon credits yet this year, the company announced last week. Log onto the Web site www.agragate.com, to download a copy of the Exchange Soil Offsets contract, or call toll-free 1-866-633-6758 to talk to a customer service representative…
  • Carbon credits are trading near a record high of $6 per ton, according to AgraGate, which was created as an initiative of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation in July, 2007…
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