USDA research center in Parlier closed during government shutdown

A bare parking lot and a couple of 'Sorry we missed you' notices from UPS will tell you everything you need to know about what's happening at the San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center in Parlier - nothing.

The center is closed, and its employees have been furloughed - another victim of the federal government shutdown.

"I have not seen any activity over there at all, maybe an occasional truck," said Dr. Jeff Dahlberg.

Dahlberg is the director of the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, just down the road.

Their parking lot is full, because they're a University of California facility.

Dahlberg says the two centers collaborate on research.

But due to the shutdown, virtually all communication has stopped.

He believes a few USDA employees are still allowed on site, but just for basic maintenance - things like keeping plants and insects alive.

However, he doesn't think they're doing some important tasks - irrigation and pruning for instance.

"I don't know what kind of impact this is going to have on them but I would have to venture to guess that it's going to set them back potentially for a year, because they could have lost some really important experiments right now," Dahlberg said.

Dahlberg says those delays mean those who rely on that important research won't see the results until later.

For all these reasons, Dahlberg says it's time to end the shutdown, and allow his colleagues down the street to return to work.

"I think we're penalizing a whole bunch of people over policy issues, but this does have some long-term impacts because it is setting some research back," he said.
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