Lab Spotlight

USDA - National Utilization Centers

Natl Utilization Ctr USDA ARS

Now throughearly 2016, each of the Agricultural Research Service's four utilization centers will celebrate its 75th anniversary. These centers were established toconduct research into and to develop new scientific, chemical, and technical uses, as well as new and extended markets for farm commodities, products and byproducts.

The four regional pilot plants provide a product development and production area that can function as a business incubator and add value to private-sector collaborations. Legislative authority allows materials produced in the facilities to be sold by the collaborator in order to demonstrate the market potential of USDA discoveries. Production efficiencies, reduced costs, added value, and new products have all resulted from private-sector collaborations utilizing the pilot plants.

The four Centers—the Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC); theNational Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR); the Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC); and the Western Regional Research Center—are located in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana, and California. Their historical achievements include methods of penicillin mass-production; permanent press and flame-retardant cotton; dehydration processes for creating instant foods; and procedures for producing high quality and stable frozen foods.

Learn more about the Centers' history in this ARS article.

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