The greening of the Agricultural Research Service leapfrogged this year from the Beltsville, Md., area to the agency's Southern Plains Area (SPA), which includes Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

The ARS Conservation and Production Laboratory in Bushland, Texas, was the first winner of a new annual award called the Southern Plains Area Greening Award. This award recognizes ARS Southern Plains locations that have demonstrated progress in making environmentally friendly choices.

The Bushland lab has been using biodiesel since 2000 to power stationary engines used to generate electricity as part of a wind/hybrid power project. It will soon test emissions from various biodiesel fuels in these engines, in coordination with scientists at the ARS Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pa.