COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A groundbreaking ceremony was held recently for the new Biological Safety Level-II research facility at the Texas A&M University Poultry Research Center, 1202 Harvey Mitchell Parkway South in College Station.
Merck Animal Health and Tyson Foods have provided gift funding for the new research facility, which aims to solve health-related challenges facing the poultry industry.
The facility will encompass research and education activities by Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and teaching faculty within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M.
“Having this type of research facility will allow Texas A&M AgriLife to help develop new technologies to further protect the state’s multibillion-dollar poultry industry and meet future health challenges,” said Dr. Patrick Stover, vice chancellor for agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M and director of AgriLife Research. “We are uniquely positioned to provide not only cutting-edge research, but also education outreach through the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and utilize broad-based faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M.”
Texas’ poultry industry contributes more than $3 billion to the state’s economy with broiler production accounting for more than $2 billion in cash receipts. Identifying antibiotic and diet alternatives will be part of a comprehensive research plan.
“This will be a unique facility for Texas, Texas A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife,” said David Caldwell, department head for poultry science at Texas A&M. “Having a research facility with these capabilities will allow us to identify new control strategies for common intestinal pathogens, assist animal health companies with developing efficacious vaccines and provide insight into effective, non-antibiotic means of disease control for the commercial industry.”
“Animal health is people health,” said Scott Bormann, vice president, North America operations, Merck Animal Health. “Consumers, more than ever, want food choices that are safe and healthy. The cutting-edge research that will come from this facility will educate future leaders and shape Merck Animal Health’s product and service offerings designed to ensure a healthy food chain.”
“We’re proud to support this new research facility and the innovative work by Texas A&M that benefits the poultry industry as a whole,” said Chip Miller, vice president, live operations, Tyson Foods. “The center is an extension of our efforts to advance animal welfare and we look forward to seeing the positive results of its research.”
The 4,800-square-foot research facility is estimated to cost approximately $900,000 and will be completed in spring of 2019. The building was designed by Singleton Zimmer Haliburton Architecture and the contractor for the project is Quad-Tex Construction, Inc.