Colorado Department of Agriculture hold ribbon cutting for state-of-the-art lab | TheFencePost.com

Colorado Department of Agriculture hold ribbon cutting for state-of-the-art lab

The Colorado Department of Agriculture unveiled a new laboratory last week in Broomfield, Colo., to replace the previous lab, built in 1973, and consolidate multiple departments.

Gov. John Hickenlooper was on hand as well as Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown, and past commissioners Tom Corliss, Don Ament, John Stulp and John Salazar.

Brown thanked the laboratory staff that he said spent time studying the plans and making them as user friendly as possible in terms of layout and contents.

"I hope we took from your head and put it on paper and put it in concrete what you need," he said.

Gov. Hickenlooper said the testing in the new facility will be more accurate, reliable and less expensive as it's completed using the most modern equipment. Additionally, he said the laboratories were built with the end users in mind with anti-fatigue flooring and expert design.

State Veterinarian Keith Roehr said the state-of-the-art facility not only offers the best of technology to the animal science laboratory, but the facility also includes metrology (weights and measures), fertilizers, feeds, pesticides and a microbiology laboratory.

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The microbiology lab is used to test foods for salmonella and other food-borne illnesses. The feed and fertilizer labs will test the contents of animal feed and fertilizer to ensure truth in labeling.

Roehr said the main tests run in his office's lab include equine infectious anemia and trichomoniasis as well as other tests that he said support the office's regulatory disease efforts.

"This is truly, for the people who will be working in this lab, a once in a lifetime opportunity to really have a facility that is a state-of-the-art facility that we can be proud of," Roehr said.

The opening of the lab comes at a time when animal health is in the forefront. Funding for the nationwide Animal Health Network, which includes Colorado State University, is part of the new farm bill, in addition to funding to fight foot and mouth disease. Additionally, Roehr said the farm bill also includes $70,000 for emergency management.

The laboratory is expected to be operational this spring. ❖

— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at rgabel@thefencepost.com or (970) 392-4410.