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Texas A&M AgriLife to break ground on new poultry biosafety research facility

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Identifying antibiotic and diet alternatives will be part of comprehensive research plan at $900,000 facility.

Texas A&M University will break ground Oct. 25 for a new Biological Safety Level-II research facility at the Texas A&M University Poultry Research Center in College Station, Texas.

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, according to an announcement from Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

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 Texas A&M College of Agriculture & Life Sciences.

“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 educational outreach through the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and utilize broad-based faculty in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at Texas A&M.”

The 4,800 sq. ft. research facility is estimated to cost approximately $900,000 and will be completed in spring of 2019, the announcement said.

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, according to the announcement. 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 Dr. 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.”

The building was designed by Singleton Zimmer Haliburton Architecture, and the contractor for the project is Quad-Tex Construction Inc.

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