At the urging of Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday approved $3 million for agriculture programs at Utah State University.

That includes $1.39 million for on-going construction of the new state-of-the-art Biotechnology Laboratory to enhance research in molecular biology and immunology.Garn, a member of the powerful committee, said, "Biotechnology is an essential tool of modern agriculture technology. This facility will enhance USU's competitive edge in agriculture research."

The committee also approved continuation of the new $250,000-a-year U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Damage Control Program at USU. The Agriculture Department and USU signed an agreement in July to create the program by adding wildlife damage management into the school's curriculum.

"This new program will increase awareness among students and members of the wildlife profession of the devastating impact animal damage can have on our agricultural industry, and raise appreciation for the need for wildlife management," Garn said.

Garn said the program makes USU "the national center for wildlife management."

The committee also approved $1.2 million for continued research at the Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory in Logan. Garn said the lab is now researching larkspur poisoning, broom snakeweed and astraglaus poisoning of wildlife and livestock.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.