USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) – Plains Area


FLC Region

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2150 Centre Avenue
Building D
Fort Collins, TX 80526
United States

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Laboratory Representative


The Plains Area (PA) conducts agricultural research at twenty-two research locations in ten states - Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. Our Location cities are Akron, CO, Fort Collins CO, Manhattan, KS, Miles City MT, Sidney MT, Clay Center NE, Lincoln NE, Las Cruces NM, Fargo ND, Grand Forks ND, Mandan ND, El Reno OK, Stillwater OK, Woodward OK, Brookings SD, Bushland TX, College Station TX, Houston TX, Kerrville TX, Lubbock TX, and Temple TX.



ARS researchers in the PA conduct research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority and provide information access dissemination to:                                                                                 

  • Ensure high-quality safe food and other agricultural products 
  • Assess the nutritional needs of Americans 
  • Sustain a competitive agricultural economy 
  • Enhance the natural resource base and the environment
  • Provide economic opportunities for rural citizens, communities, and society as a whole.

PA scientists at our 22 research locations in 10 states are addressing all of these goals through the 85 to 100 agricultural and nutritional research programs typically underway in the PA at any one time. The Area Director's Office supports these many vital research efforts by providing administrative, technical and budgetary assistance to our locations. Our goal is to provide superior service to all our customers and employees to further the ARS research mission and the multi-disciplinary research efforts underway in the PA.

Technology Disciplines

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8
A Hexaploid Schedonorus Arundinaceus Plant That Possesses a Lolium Multiflorum Cytoplasm Useful for Producing Rhizomatous Hybrids
A Tool for Managing the Quality of Plant Products
Aerial Electrostatic System for Weather Modification
Cadherin Receptor Peptide for Potentiating Bt Biopesticides
Computer Vision Qualified Infrared Temperature Sensor
Real time measurement system for seed cotton or lint
Two-line Breeding System in Sorghum

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ARS research is organized into National Programs. These programs serve to bring coordination, communication, and empowerment to approximately 690 research projects carried out by ARS. The National Programs focus on the relevance, impact, and quality of ARS research. Check out the National Programs' website here:


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This nomination details the successful partnership between a federal laboratory, university, collaborative sorghum stakeholder group, and a bioenergy industry partner to address an issue in bioethanol production and address barriers to adoption and utilization of sorghum—a crop in the United States that is more acclimated to growth in hotter/dryer climates.

The partnership identified a barrier to a grain processor, the biofuel plant, responding to the variability in local production of starchbased grains. Specifically, ethanol plants located on the Great Plains have influx between the availability of corn and sorghum based on the growing season. This necessitates the need to utilize diverse feedstock. A barrier to diversifying feedstock is the requirement to account for the grain in an infrastructure that mixes commodities in lieu of single commodity storage. Feedstock accounting supports both the management of fermentation efficiency and requirements of fuel markets. Addressing this barrier required high throughput technology that is scalable with easy adoption in a commercial processing plant.

Specifically, researchers at USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Kansas State University, The Center for Sorghum Improvement and Western Plains Energy, LLC, collaborated to develop and validate a rapid near infrared (NIR) spectroscopic test to determine the composition of corn-sorghum flour mixtures used in the production of bioethanol. In addition to this rapid NIR test method, the partners developed a real-time PCR method to support the rapid NIR methodology with a reference and validation method.

Adoption of the NIR technology was rapid due to the integral partnership approach. Western Plains Energy, LLC, has received the NIR calibration curve and reference samples, and is integrating the methodology into operations. In addition, an NIR instrument company and a bioethanol enzyme company have received the NIR method and are working with Western Plains Energy to further implement and develop the methodology. This expansion of the partnership to service providers enables broader dissemination of the technology. Further distribution of the process will occur by publication and stakeholder presentation in the fall.

Western Plains Energy is currently in the process of adopting this technology for use and has installed in-line NIR instrumentation to facilitate it. This technology could be used industry-wide where needed to help identify the composition of feedstock used to produce a given batch of ethanol.

This project leveraged existing strong partnerships between the USDA-ARS lab in Manhattan, Kansas, Kansas State University researchers, and the Center for Sorghum Improvement at Kansas State University (state government). The interface between the researchers and industry provided by leadership at the Center for Sorghum Improvement was critical to the success of this project and highlights the potential for future partnerships between ARS, academia and the sorghum industry. Sorghum is an important crop for the central and southern region of the Great Plains, with an estimated gross production value for the U.S. of approximately $1.3 billion (www Continued partnerships like the one detailed in this nomination will serve to strengthen and increase the value of U.S. sorghum and benefit the U.S. ethanol industry.

USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) – Plains Area
Publication DateDec 23, 2020

Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, intends to grant to the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges, acting for and on behalf of Oklahoma State University, an institution of higher education located in Stillwater, Oklahoma, an exclusive license to the variety of peanut described in Plant Variety Protection Certificate Number 201800422, ‘CONTENDER,’ issued on May 19, 2020.

Comments must be received on or before January 22, 2021.
Send comments to: Diana D. Halsey, Acting Business Licensing Officer, USDA, ARS, Office of Technology Transfer, 301-504-4878,
For further information contact:

Diana D. Halsey, Acting Business Licensing Officer, USDA, ARS, Office of Technology Transfer, 301-504-4878,

Supplementary information:

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Federal Government's rights in this plant variety are assigned to the United States of America, as represented by the Secretary of Agriculture. The prospective exclusive license will be royalty-bearing and will comply with the terms and conditions of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR 404.7. The prospective exclusive license may be granted unless, within thirty (30) days from the date of this published Notice, the Agricultural Research Service receives written evidence and argument which establishes that the grant of the license would not be consistent with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR 404.7.

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