Auburn University last week formally opened it's newly built $7.1 million Poultry and Animal Nutrition Center.
The Alabama Poultry and Agriculture Association Feed Mill and Nutrition building, is a modern academic and research feed production facility housed inside a 12,500 sq ft steel building. The new center is situated on a 50 acre site due north of the Auburn Lakes Road main campus.
To celebrate the opening a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held, and attended by the university's administrators and representatives of the poultry and feed milling industry.
Jay Gogue, Auburn University President, said at the opening, "growing up in rural South Georgia I never saw a feed mill like this when I was a kid, it is pretty impressive to a guy from the agriculture fields.
He continued saying, "the new Poultry and Animal Nutrition Center at Auburn is the result of a great partnership between the university and agribusiness."
The feed mill opens as the nation observes the 150th anniversary of the 1862 Morrill Land-Grant Act, which established a system of public universities to provide practical educations to the sons and daughters of America's working class.
"In those 150 years Auburn University has had a very proud legacy of trying to make agriculture more efficient," Gogue said. "This facility will allow us to be more supportive to our agricultural industries in the state of Alabama."
Auburn university now has one out of six of the remaining Poultry Science Departments in the country, with this feed processing facility being on the the second of it's kind in the country.
The feed mill was manufactured in Minnesota and made up of nine prefabricated modules, all 40 ft. long by 8 ft. wide by 9 ft. 6" high, and then put together on site in Auburn.
The plan of the feed plant is a small-scale reproduction of a commercial mega-facility and perfect for teaching, according to the head of the Department of Poultry Science, Dr. Don Conner.
"As I look at this (the facility) I see a piece of art," Conner said. "This facility positions the department to be a major player on a global scale in terms of animal agriculture and nutrition."
As a part of the poultry science syllabus the feed plant will be run and operated principally by the university's students.
The feed plant has had strong support from the feed and poultry industries since the project took form in early 2008, when a technical advisory committee that included poultry nutritionists and feed mill personnel was put together to offer input on the facility's design and machinery. Til now, a total of 40 corporations have donated to the facility, which included $750,000 USD worth of feed equipment for the plant.
Auburn University research will concentrate on acquiring as much nutritional value out of the produced feed as possible, not just restricting itself to poultry feeds but also for other agriculturally important animals. Feed manufactured at the feed mill will be utilised to feed the university's 20,000 bird research flock and livestock research animals.
Researchers from private companies will be allowed to use the feed plant for other projects on a contract basis, according to Dr. Don Conner.