The nearly $60 million needed to complete modernization of a federal government animal disease laboratory in Ames, IA, has passed through the House Agriculture Appropriations Committee.

The inclusion of the National Animal Disease Center (NADC) in the 2006 agriculture budget is an important first step in securing funding approval, says Tom Latham (D-IA). NADC tests for domestic livestock diseases as well as for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), anthrax and rabies.

The funding must also go through the House Appropriations Committee, the full House and through the Senate before it gets final approval. The money was included in President Bush’s 2006 budget request.

Total project cost to renovate the lab will exceed $400 million.