$45 million invested in US poultry lab
$45 million dollars of federal money is to be invested in expanding the facilities of the US Department of Agriculture’s Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens, Georgia.
The $45 million included in the new federal budget is just part of the $155 million that will eventually be needed to modernise the facility, an effort that will include the addition of 100,000 square feet of new space. A recent five-year internal USDA facilities assessment determined that upgrading SEPRL should be the agency's top priority.
What began as a single project, the laboratory is now involved in a host of research initiatives including work on avian influenza and Newcastle disease, with the aim of providing government agencies and the poultry industry with improved intervention strategies against both emerging and endemic poultry diseases.
"Georgia leads the nation in poultry production and the funding ... to consolidate USDA poultry health research in Athens will assure we continue to be the best at producing healthy, safe, wholesome and affordable poultry products," said Dean Scott Angle of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences whose college collaborates with the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory.
"Georgia poultry farmers and processors will benefit substantially from the research conducted at this facility. Poultry is critically important to the economy of Georgia, having an impact of almost $40 billion annually."
The laboratory's equipment has kept up with state-of-the-art standards, according to SEPRL Director David Swayne, but its physical facilities have lagged behind its expanding mission.
The new federal dollars will be used to replace some older facilities in the 35-building complex, which includes the structures needed to raise disease-free chickens, a critical component of the SEPRL's work.
Source: Online Athens
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