Agricultural News

TN Tech opens new Poultry Science Research Center

COOKVILLE, Tenn. — Poultry, and specifically the broiler production sector, represent big business in the state of Tennessee, According to the State Department of Agriculture, it’s the number three agricultural sector in the state. Every major pedigree/breeder company in the nation has facilities in Tennessee. That’s just one of the reasons that one middle Tennessee university recently open a research center dedicated to the poultry industry.

Tech President Phil Oldham speaks at the opening event for the university’s Poultry Science Research Center. Oldham and First Lady Kari Oldham also toured the facility during the event. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

Tennessee Tech University recently celebrated the grand opening of their Poultry Science Research Center on Dec. 2, as well as the official naming of the Aviagen Poultry Science Laboratory inside. The new facility, which will give faculty and students in the College of Agriculture and Human Ecology access to cutting edge technology, was made possible through a number of supporters throughout the state.

“I think this is a great testament to the power of partnerships,” said Tech President Phil Oldham. “We believe strongly in partnerships at Tennessee Tech because we believe we are all better together. The students are going to have an opportunity to enjoy this facility and then go off into their jobs and make a big difference – that’s what this is all about.”

This new facility is located on the grounds of Tech’s Shipley Farm and includes two 30-foot-by-200-foot poultry research barns, a feed mill, a processing plant, a commercial kitchen, a hatchery and a classroom.

Students will be able to have hands-on experience in work going on in the poultry industry today and also be involved in important research in health and nutrition alongside Victoria Ayres, the new assistant professor of poultry science.

“I’ve seen firsthand the impact of what I call scholar-teachers,” Lori Bruce, provost and vice president of academic affairs, said. “When faculty have the opportunity to have world-class research facilities to do scholarly work at the top level, that drives discovery, knowledge and innovative solutions to social problems. It also directly impacts the experience our students have because the students get the advantage of being taught by faculty who are world-class. They get to participate in research, but also faculty get to be practitioners of their discipline.”

Graduating students will be able to know that the skills they are learning will be relevant and up-to-date as soon as they step out into the workforce.

“Two words drive everything we do at Tennessee Tech: students first,” said Kevin Braswell, vice president of university advancement. “Through this center and the Aviagen Poultry Science Laboratory, our students will be able to do a few key things: gain hands-on experience, apply current industry practices, and also gain a better understanding of the scientific process and be leaders in that process.”

In addition to Aviagen, the worldwide market leader in poultry breeding, Tech also received support from sources such as the Drive to 55 Project Capacity Fund Grant, Tennessee Poultry Association and the Tennessee Board of Regents.

“This is without a doubt the best research center in the State of Tennessee,” Darron Smith, dean of the college of agriculture and human ecology, said. “Having these relationships builds a pipeline for our students to get employment and internships. We have placed a lot of students in the poultry industry across the area. This lab will help train them even more to be able to move into the poultry industry.”

Amy New, president and CEO of the Cookeville Chamber of Commerce agreed. “Industries want people from an agriculture and human ecology background because they bring grit, they bring loyalty, they bring hard work, they bring it all,” she said. “I’m excited that we are making those incredible future leaders at Tennessee Tech.”

Students at Tech are expected to begin using the facility in spring 2023. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently-owned, community newspaper located in Lynchburg, Tennessee the home of The Jack Daniel Distillery. We focus on public service, non-partisan, rural journalism. We cover the Metro Moore County government, local tourism, Moore County schools, high school sports, Motlow State Community College, as well as whiskey industry news and regional and state stories that affect our readers.}

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