USDA Temporarily Closes Damaged MD Facility

Flooding in December led to mold and asbestos cleanup at the farm research lab.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently closed its largest agricultural research site, allowing for cleanup and maintenance crews to repair major damages in the building. 

The aging Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in Maryland experienced a major flood in December, after which researchers were required to return to work. The flood damaged data and laboratory equipment, and independent testing found evidence of mold and asbestos in the facility’s drywall and ceiling tiles. Many building requirements were also out of code and needed updating.

Though 52 employees were required to return to the site, whistleblowers reported the status of the facility to the Office of the Special Counsel, which handles whistleblower cases. The USDA announced on May 26 that they will be closing the building on June 2, allowing staff to pack up before construction began.

Five employees are allowed to continue visiting the laboratories during repairs to maintain on-site insect colonies and provide IT support.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For USDA officials as they oversee the remediation and repair of this important facility.
  • For BARC employees as they endeavor to carry on the work at the lab.
  • For scientists trying to salvage information and data pertaining to their research.

Sources: Reuters, American Federation of Government Employees


Back to top