A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the $9 million Idaho State Department of Agriculture Diagnostic Laboratory was held Nov. 23 and was attended by members of the state’s agricultural industry.
The new facility, which houses ISDA’s animal health, plant pathology and dairy laboratories, is 18,500 square feet in size, which is about 30 percent larger than the previous lab, which is pushing 60 years old.
The new facility will allow ISDA to greatly expand its testing capacity if necessary, said Dan Salmi, ISDA’s laboratory bureau chief. It also has the latest phytosanitary protocols, he added.
The difference between the old and new lab “really is night and day,” he said. “The new laboratory has been designed to accommodate (up to) three times our current sample volume.”
“We got feedback from all of our scientists and they were able to identify their exact needs and how the lab should be laid out,” Salmi said. “We’re all very excited about working in there.”
The new lab, which is located adjacent to the ISDA headquarters building in Boise, includes half an acre of undeveloped land that could be developed if the department’s mission increases in the future, he added.
Salmi said growth in demand for services the lab provides have exploded in some areas in recent years and that growth is expected to continue to increase.
In 2016, there were no large cattle processing facilities in Idaho. In a year and a half, there will be four, said Gov. Brad Little, a rancher and farmer from Emmett.