Alfa Insurance invested in the future of Alabama’s largest agricultural industry with a recent pledge to Auburn University’s (AU) National Poultry Technology Center (NPTC).
The Alfa Foundation’s $100,000 gift helps fund NPTC’s first equipment test house, part of the College of Agriculture’s poultry farm relocation to north Auburn.
“We have a long relationship with Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation,” said NPTC Director Jim Donald. “Alfa Insurance insures poultry houses, the Federation supports farmers, and we help design technologies that make poultry production more efficient.”
NPTC’s goal is simple -— improve profitability for Alabama poultry farmers. Through NPTC, which began in 2007, biosystems engineers and agricultural economists collaborate to create cost-effective solutions for housing, ventilation, equipment, lighting, heating, feed, bedding materials and energy issues.
“When the building is finished, we can quickly and methodically test many different housing and equipment situations and technologies without the grower being the guinea pig,” Donald said.
According to 2013 data, NPTC saves Alabama’s estimated 3,000 poultry farmers $30 million annually in expenses, as well as time and peace of mind.
State Poultry Committee Chairman Joe Roberts is no stranger to NPTC’s work. His Fayette County farm has been used for NPTC research, including recent poultry bedding material tests.
“Poultry has been good to many farmers in Alabama,” said Roberts, who was raised on a poultry farm. “NPTC promotes research that affects growers and allows us to gain more with fewer inputs.”
The NPTC test house is part of the AU farm’s first phase, along with two Department of Poultry Science research broiler houses. The houses will be adjacent to the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association Feed Mill and Animal Nutrition Building.
“We view this as an opportunity to build a world-class facility on campus,” said Paul Patterson, AU’s College of Agriculture associate dean for instruction. “We want our students to have the best possible education so they can, in turn, help growers save money.”
The NPTC test house will give AU biosystems engineering and poultry science students hands-on experience and skills with emerging technologies, which will be easily transferrable to the industry.
“Agriculture is constantly evolving, and our farmers need viable solutions,” said Alfa Insurance and Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “We are excited to partner with Auburn and believe this partnership will enhance the poultry industry and allow our farmers to better provide for their flocks and families.”
The 16,500-square-foot test house is under construction and projected to welcome its first flock in the summer of 2016.