Building and Expanding the Agriculture Laboratory
WHEREAS, the existing laboratories for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture are located next to its administrative offices on John Fitch Plaza, and were constructed in 1964, making it one of the oldest buildings in the State House complex area; and
WHEREAS, four areas of the Department require laboratory use, and include:
o Veterinary surveillance and research in the Division of Animal Health;
o Agricultural chemical testing in the Division of Marketing and Development;
o Seafood inspection in the Division of Marketing and Development; and
o Seed inspection and research in the Division of Plant Industry; and
WHEREAS, at the Division of Animal Health, the laboratory serves as the only veterinary research and diagnostic center for the State; and
WHEREAS, with expanding technology and the discovery of new diseases to both plant and animal life, space in the laboratories has become scarce and the need to expand that space to effectively serve our agricultural constituency has become critical; and over time, the laboratories have become antiquated, with some components, such as the greenhouse, rendered unusable; and
WHEREAS, a feasibility study was conducted and plans are now underway to construct and engineer a new laboratory in West Trenton, with an anticipated completion date of summer 2010; and
WHEREAS, the planning process for the New Jersey Public Health and Environmental Agricultural Science laboratory is in progress, with construction of the facility to begin within two years; synergies such as common warehousing, conference and accessioning areas have already been reviewed, and uniform security for the laboratories of both agencies is now being planned; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Agriculture has been working cooperatively with the New Jersey Building Authority and the Department of Health and Senior Services to ensure the proposed new laboratory will meet the needs of the Department and the Department’s programs; and
WHEREAS, once constructed, the laboratories will need to be furnished with suitable equipment, most of which will be nontransferable from the existing laboratories; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we, the delegates of the 91st State Agricultural Convention assembled in Atlantic City, New Jersey on February 8, 2006, recommend and strongly support the Department’s continued effort to work cooperatively with the New Jersey Building Authority and the Department of Health and Senior Services to effectuate the timely construction of a new laboratory for the benefit of the public. We recommend that this effort focus on ensuring adequate space and functionality in the laboratory to conduct current activities and plan for future growth.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we respectfully request that the Legislature appropriate a budget that will enable the Department’s laboratories to be fully completed and properly equipped. In addition, we recommend that the Department work cooperatively with the New Jersey Building Authority and the Department of Health and Senior Services to ensure that the laboratory is furnished with the equipment necessary to operate each program.