Monday, December 11, 2023

UGA celebrates completion of its new Poultry Science Building

By David B. Strickland Poultry Times editor

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ATHENS, Ga. — The University of Georgia’s Department of Poultry Science has begun to set up its residence on campus at its new Poultry Science Building, which boasts more than 70,000 square feet of state-of-the-art research and instructional space.

A dedication ceremony was held at the new location on Oct. 6, where several university and state officials cut the ribbon for the department’s new home. Construction of the $54.1 million building was made possible through state, university, and private donations.

“The University of Georgia is a land-grant institution that serves our entire state through teaching, research, and service,” University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead said. “And UGA’s strong relationship with the poultry industry exemplifies this land-grant mission.”

“Three out of four Georgia counties are involved in poultry and egg production generating an annual economic impact for the state of Georgia of more than $28 billion,” he added. “All of these Georgia producers benefit from the vaccines and therapeutics created from UGA faculty research, as well as other advances we are making in genetics, nutrition, production management, and other areas.”

Students will begin in the new building in January. Morehead noted the value that students will receive with the new facility.

“UGA students graduate ready to contribute to the poultry industry,” he said. “As producers, breeders, managers, veterinarians, and more. And UGA Extension agents help Georgians throughout the state, translate the latest research into practical advice to ensure the safety and vitality of this critical industry.”

Morehead added that the new Poultry Science Building, “that we are dedicating today represents what is possible when private donors and government, industry, and university leaders all work together to advance agriculture and higher education in our state. We are very grateful to (Georgia) Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia General Assembly for approving state funds to support this $54 million project.”

Morehead also thanked all of the private, individual and corporate donors who contributed to the new building.

“Your belief in the University of Georgia’s mission and your investment in this new facility were critical to the project’s success,” he said. “We would not be here without your support, so thank you for helping solidify UGA’s position as a global leader in poultry science and ensuring a bright future for this important field.”

A special individual was also recognized by Morehead and will also be recognized with a special place in the new building – Abit Massey. Massey, a UGA alumnus and president emeritus of the Georgia Poultry Federation, has a student classroom named in his honor.

“I am proud to announce today that a state-of-the-art classroom in the new Poultry Science Building has been named the Abit Massey Classroom in honor of Abit’s love for UGA and the many students he has mentored and supported over the years,” Morehead said.

UGA senior poultry science major Sage Barlow also noted the new opportunities for students.

“This gorgeous, new Poultry Science Building will be a home away from home for many of us here,” Barlow said. “It will be a place of learning and discovery, a place where students spend long hours studying and conducting research to advance the industry, and a place that brings together members of the agriculture community and our department.”

University officials noted that they are looking toward the future and toward the many possibilities that this new facility will provide.

“At UGA, we have been conducting transformational poultry research, instruction and Extension outreach for decades – research that has changed the way the poultry industry operates, instruction that equips the next generation of leaders like Sage, and outreach that supports industry and producers at all levels, from the individual to the corporation,” said Nick Place, dean and director of UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp congratulated all of the hard work and effort that has gone into making this new educational facility.

“We are gathered here today to celebrate a milestone that will continue to strengthen the future, because we know the prosperity of our agriculture industry is not just essential for our farming families, it’s essential for our state’s economic success,” Kemp said.

“Not only is agriculture our largest industry, but Georgia is the top poultry producing state in the United States, with a farmgate value of over $4.4 billion,” he added. “If Georgia were its own country, we would be the fourth largest poultry producing country in the world. That accomplishment is made possible by incredible work done by the UGA Poultry Science Department faculty, staff, and students, who for years have made this program a powerful resource to our poultry producers.

“To extend that continued success for our state, this university’s new facility will serve as a home to cutting-edge advances in both agriculture and poultry science, as well as diverse fields like medicine and biosecurity.”

“Georgia’s success in agriculture is striving and this is the perfect place to continue the UGA tradition producing future farmers, scientists, innovators, and industry leaders,” Kemp said. “We can’t wait to see what accomplishments are going to come from this great facility for our state and nation in the very near future.”

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