The Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine announced March 17 that the Iowa Pork Producers Assn. and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation have each committed a gift of $1 million to help enhance the animal health, food safety, public health and competitiveness of Iowa’s animal agriculture industries.
The commitment will support the new Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) building project at Iowa State, the college said, noting that the laboratory is the only full-service and fully accredited veterinary diagnostic lab in Iowa and has been a state and national leader in protecting animal and human health since it was established in 1947.
Processing more than 90,000 submissions a year — and more than a million tests in total — the laboratory plays a key role in ensuring animal health, including wildlife and companion animals, public health, global food safety and the competitiveness of Iowa’s $32 billion animal agriculture industry.
“Our investment underscores how Iowa’s pig farmers rely on this in-state facility to help us quickly recognize and contain animal diseases,” Iowa Pork Producers Assn. president Mike Paustian said. “The current VDL has been pushed to its limits, while the need for the services they provide continues expanding rapidly. Over 75% of the samples being submitted to the VDL are from pig farms, which is why we have decided to help lead the charge to secure the funds needed for this project. Not only is that important to us but to Iowa’s rural economy. The VDL is a world-class resource that will be critical to the future success of pork producers in Iowa.”
The investment in the new state-of-the-art facility will help greatly increase the state's diagnostic service and discovery capabilities for current and future generations of Iowa's livestock farmers, the college said. In addition, the new facility will help keep Iowa State at the forefront in discovery of emerging and re-emerging diseases, provide a rich caseload to teach future veterinary practitioners and make innovative discoveries regarding new methods to control and eradicate diseases.
“Livestock is critical to Iowa’s agricultural industry, so it is imperative that we are constantly innovating and continuously improving what we do for the overall well-being of our animals and our food supply,” Iowa Farm Bureau president Craig Hill said. “With this new world-class facility, Iowa livestock farmers will have immediate access to unbiased, third-party diagnoses in livestock and poultry to help ensure a safe food supply for future generations.”
Dan Grooms, the Dr. Stephen G. Juelsgaard dean of veterinary medicine at Iowa State, added, “We are very grateful for the visionary generosity of the Iowa Pork Producers and Iowa Farm Bureau. Through their partnership with Iowa State and the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory will continue to be a leader in protecting animal and human health while advancing Iowa’s animal agriculture economy.”
Iowa Pork Producers and Iowa Farm Bureau made their gift commitments through the Iowa State University Foundation.