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Ohio Department of Agriculture hosts groundbreaking ceremony for new, state-of-the-art Ohio Veterinary Diagnostic Lab

Ohio Department of Agriculture, Press Release

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday to celebrate the start of construction on the new Ohio Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (OVDL).

The ceremony brought Ohio’s leadership and agricultural commodity groups and stakeholders to the Reynoldsburg campus. Construction of the new laboratory also brings a name change, as the current title of Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) will be retired.

The 70,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility will include 40-percent more laboratory space and updated biosecurity measures. A more energy-efficient building will also accommodate dozens of new staff members. The Capital Budget signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine last summer allocates $72 million for the new OVDL.

“Ohio is the heart of innovation and agriculture, and we need a lab that can keep up with changing technology and scientific advancements,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “Our team at the Ohio Department of Agriculture long ago outgrew its current lab, and the new facility will be much better equipped to rapidly and accurately detect emerging and foreign animal diseases that could threaten public health, food safety and food security.”

The laboratory provides regulatory testing support for disease control programs and diagnostic laboratory services for veterinarians, livestock producers, and agribusinesses within and beyond Ohio. It conducts more than 452,000 tests a year, which breaks down to 1,738 tests a day, 217 tests an hour.

The current lab and building, opened in 1961, has outgrown the testing capacity needed for the state’s growers and producers. Because of this, a significant number of laboratory tests needed by Ohio farmers and businesses are sent to laboratories out of state. It is vital to keep this testing in the state.

“Our livestock industry and agriculture community has advocated tirelessly for this much needed enhancement to the services we provide at the Ohio Department of Agriculture,” said ODA Director Brian Baldridge. “We applaud the DeWine-Husted administration and the Ohio legislature for advocating for this cutting-edge technology as we continue to protect livestock and the citizens of this great state.”  

The new building also offers the chance to honor an Ohioan who contributed immensely to animal health and food safety and security. The OVDL will be housed in the Dr. Tony Forshey Animal Health Building. Dr. Forshey had a passion and commitment to agriculture and animal health and is well known in the agricultural community for his work and dedication. He served as the State Veterinarian from 2006 until his passing in 2021.

Construction on the building is set to begin in December, with an estimated completion date in 2026.