Two agencies of the federal government signed an agreement outlining the construction-to-operation transition of the $1.2 billion National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility under development in Manhattan, Kansas officials said.

Gov. Laura Kelly said Friday the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security completed a memorandum formally spelling out how the departments would transfer the animal research complex from DHS to USDA.

Under terms of the deal, DHS is to lead construction and commissioning of the facility. USDA will assume responsibility for operational planning and eventually take over management control of NBAF. Construction is on scheduled and on budget for completion in December 2020. Commissioning of the lab is expected in May 2021, when ownership is to transfer to USDA.

"We’re grateful to the Trump administration and our congressional delegation from Kansas for their support of this important project,” Kelly said.

She said NBAF research would protect the nation’s food supply and provide an economic boost to the animal-science corridor stretching from Manhattan to Columbia, Mo.

NBAF is designed to provide scientists research access to pathogens affecting livestock with a capacity to be transferred to people. It will serve as a diagnostic facility to speed response to U.S. food supply threats. It will replace the government's Plum Island research center in New York.

"NBAF will provide fundamental research ensuring livestock, food and fiber industries in Kansas remain secure," said Mike Beam, secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture.