The National Corn Growers Association has selected Fargo as the site for a national research center aimed at enhancing food production and safety.
The National Agricultural Genotyping Center will open in October at the federal Biosciences Research Laboratory on the North Dakota State University campus. Its main goal will be to develop on-site tests for diseases in corn and other crops.
"This is a first-time-ever, huge step for a farmer-led association that gives growers more influence on research agendas," said Richard Vierling, director of research for the corn group. "This can help growers increase production and lower costs."
The center — a collaboration of the corn group and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico — also will work to develop quicker tests for food-borne illnesses, improving food safety.
"Field kits will enable on-site testing, rather than sending samples back to a laboratory," North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said.
The St. Louis-based association considered North Dakota's largest city and Decatur, Illinois, for the National Agricultural Genotyping Center, and announced that Fargo would host the center late last week. North Dakota's congressional delegation said the group's decision to base the research center at NDSU reinforces its reputation as a hub for agricultural research.
Corn underpins much of the U.S. and global food supply, providing feed for livestock and ingredients for many foods, including bread and soft drinks.