Work has begun on a new US$5.2m facility for state-of-the-art research on chickens and poultry at the US Department of Agriculture's Henry A. Wallace Beltsville (Maryland) Agricultural Research Center (BARC).

"This facility will provide much-needed space and allow our scientists to conduct research on poultry nutrition, growth regulation and reproduction," said Edward Knipling, administrator of USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

Scheduled to open in May 2006, the 28,100-square-foot building is designed primarily to house chickens and turkeys for poultry research conducted by BARC's Growth Biology Laboratory and Biotechnology and Germplasm Laboratory. The two labs currently share space in a building constructed in the 1930s. Poultry are now housed in other buildings on the grounds, which is operated by the ARS, the USDA's chief in-house scientific research agency.