LEXINGTON, KY. — The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the University of Kentucky (UK) broke ground on the Forage-Animal Production Research Unit (FAPRU), a new research facility located on the university’s campus.

The ceremony, held on May 23, was hosted by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and UK’s College of Agriculture, Food and the Environment (UK-CAFE).

"Agricultural research bolsters economic growth and enhances food quality and safety all while combatting the climate crisis," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Today's groundbreaking builds on more than two decades of partnership with the University of Kentucky, while demonstrating USDA's latest commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible for agriculture, and to creating profitable and sustainable systems, rooted in science, that will advance farmers' production for years to come."

The USDA said the facility is scheduled to be completed in 2026. The research facility will span 52,600 square feet, featuring office space, a laboratory, a collaborative area, headhouse and eight-bay greenhouses. Once operational, it will staff six ARS scientists and seven university researchers as well as laboratory technicians and administrative personnel.