The Kika de la Garza Subtropical Agricultural Research Center is located in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. In 1931, the USDA, through the Agricultural Research Service, located a single scientist at Weslaco to conduct research on citrus and vegetable processing.
Today, the Center employs over 30 scientists and 110 technical personnel. Our people live from Brownsville to Mission and are involved in school, community, and church activities throughout the Valley.
From the initial work on citrus and vegetables, the research expanded to include work on 1) Integrated pest management of parasites and diseases of honey bee colonies; 2) Biological control methods used to identify and defeat present and potential pest threats to Rio Grande Valley agriculture; 3) Organic farming systems utilizing holistic approaches to healthy and nutritious food production; 4) Quarantine treatments of subtropical fruits and vegetables; 5) Post harvest treatments of produce for disinfestations by non-chemical means; 6) Aerial remote sensing of agricultural problems; and 7) Pesticide tolerance of vegetables, ornamental, and specialty crops for registration labeling and EPA compliance.
These research efforts are an integral part of National Research Programs conducted at over 100 locations by the USDA, Agricultural Research Service in all 50 states and several foreign countries. The Center, along with components of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, and Texas A&M at Kingsville Citrus center, occupies about 90 acres along Highway 83 and is collectively referred to as the “Rio Grande Valley Agricultural Center.”