May 27, 2021

Why Gov. Newsom wants to invest nearly $90 million in Turlock livestock lab

Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked for $88.6 million to build a livestock health lab in Turlock much better than the one already there. Backers say the project would help assure safe food for humans while containing diseases in poultry, cattle, swine, horses and other livestock.

The lab would cover about 41,000 square feet on land already owned by the state at 830 Dianne Drive, just west of Highway 99 near Canal Drive. The site is about a mile southwest of the current lab at Fulkerth and Soderquist roads, next to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. It opened in 1958 and, at just 5,100 square feet, can only examine poultry.

Newsom included the money in his Jan. 8 proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. It needs votes from the Assembly and Senate, which approved a total of $6.8 million for the site purchase and planning in 2017 and 2019.The current funding request includes detailed design and construction, which could be done by 2024. The new lab would employ an estimated 56 people, compared with 17 at the current site, said spokesman Steve Lyle at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Read more