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Ground broken for new cereal crops lab at UW-Madison

Ground was broken July 7 for the new Cereal Crops Research Unit on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The new facility is funded and operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture”s Agricultural Research Service.

The unit”s scientists conduct basic research on the biological processes affecting the growth, development and properties of cereal grains, and evaluate these findings for potential applications to improved cereal quality through germplasm development or altered production practices. The unit also supports barley and oat breeding and applied research programs within the USDA”s Agricultural Research Service and at state Agricultural Experiment Stations.

Warren Burger (pictured, second from left) led the Barley Malt Lab from 1972 until he retired in 1983. When he retired, the lab”s name was changed to the Cereal Crops Research Unit. David Peterson (pictured, third from left) led the unit from 1983 until his retirement in 2004. Acting director Cynthia Henson, ARS plant physiologist and UW-Madison Department of Agronomy associate professor, was named leader of the research unit at the groundbreaking ceremony. Barley malt research has been carried out on campus since 1934, when Allan D. Dickson, who earned a doctorate in biochemistry at the UW-Madison, was hired by the USDA.

J.H. Findorff & Son Inc., which built the original Barley Malt Lab in 1948, is the general contractor on the new research unit. The $11.4 million project is scheduled to open in July 2006. The USDA will deed the old building to the University of Wisconsin.