Several groups have already contacted the association indicating “strong interest” in conducting research at the multi-million dollar Shafter facility. These include University of California, Cotton Incorporated, the garlic research advisory board and APIS 4, a national beekeeping research effort.

Palla is particularly pleased with the interest from Cotton Incorporated in funding continued Fusarium Race 4 research at the station. He also said Kevin McCarthy, local Kern County congressman, is trying to convince USDA keep an ARS scientist on the station to continue Fusarium research.

All private agricultural groups also will be welcome, added Palla.

The Shafter Research Station will be able to operate entirely through funding sources provided by research projects conducted there by way of facility user fees, says Palla.

SJV Quality Cotton Growers is creating a committee to oversee the management of the station.

“It is hoped that this new arrangement will serve as an exemplary model of successful private sector facility management through which the industry and public at large will continue to benefit,” Palla said.

He expects the bulk of the research projects to begin in 2013.

For additional information, interested parties can contact SJV Quality Cotton Growers Association at (661) 377-2490.