Politico has a piece entitled: "A tour of the government's 'nerd labs': The cutting-edge (and sometimes secret) labs where Washington tries to hatch the future. ARS (Ag Research Service) is number on the list, after NIST and before DARPA. That's complimentary. What isn't so good is the date given for the establishment: 1953.
That's ridiculous; USDA was doing this work back in the 19th century, arguably even before USDA was established. What they mean, of course, is that the agency was formed under its current name in 1953, but still.