Iowa State University’s (ISU) Col­­lege of Veterinary Medicine last week held a virtual groundbreaking for a new Veterinary Diagnostic Lab facility to support Iowa’s $32.5 billion animal agricultural industry.

The $75 million project to build the new laboratory has been funded by a $63.5 million appropriation from the State of Iowa with additional funding from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University and private donors. The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa Pork Producers Association each committed gifts of $1 million to the construction of the new facility on the ISU Vet Medicine campus.

“Livestock is critical to Iowa’s agricultural industry, so it is im­­perative that we are constantly innovating and continuously im­­proving what we do for the overall well-being of our animals and our food supply,” said Craig Hill, president of Iowa Farm Bureau and a livestock farmer from Warren County. “With this new world-class facility, Iowa livestock farmers will have immediate access to unbiased, third-party diagnoses in livestock and poultry to help ensure a safe food supply for future generations.”

The investment in the facility will greatly increase the state’s diagnostic service and discovery capabilities for current and future generations of Iowa’s livestock farmers, according to the ISU Vet College. In addition, the new facility will help keep Iowa State at the forefront in the discovery of emerging and re-emerging dis­eases, provide a rich caseload to teach future veterinary practitioners and make innovative discoveries regarding methods to control and eradicate diseases.

“The Veterinary Diagnostic Lab­­oratory (VDL) is a crown jewel for Iowa State University and for the entire state of Iowa,” said Wendy Wintersteen, ISU president. “A long-time national leader in advancing animal health and food safety, the VDL has also leveraged its expertise to play a key role in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new facility is critical for the VDL to continue providing innovative solutions and support to the complex and growing needs of animal and public health. We are deeply grateful to the state, our industry partners and donors for their investments to make it possible.”

Construction on the new VDL is scheduled to begin in early 2021, with a scheduled opening in 2023.