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Bond Issue Provides New Livestock Facilities At AU

Bond Issue Provides New Livestock Facilities At AU
May 31, 2005 |

With the recent dedication of a new beef unit and meats laboratory at Auburn University and groundbreaking for a new swine research and education complex, Alabama farmers and consumers are beginning to reap the rewards of a $52 million agriculture and economic development bond issue that voters first approved in 1998.During the groundbreaking and dedication ceremonies, Auburn University Interim President Dr. Ed Richardson praised the farm community for its support of the new facilities while reminding those in attendance that America must continue to invest in agriculture.”I read just yesterday where this country now borrows $2 billion a day just to make sure it can operate. Much of that is due to our dependence on oil from other countries,” he said. “But I think of even greater concern to me is to be totally dependent on other countries for (our) food supply. That’s why agriculture has and will continue to play an important role (in this country)–although it will have to change in very major ways. This facility is certainly a very positive move in that direction.”The $6.3 million Stanley P. Wilson Beef Unit and Lambert-Powell Meats Laboratory is located on 144 acres of land at the intersection of Wire Road and Shug Jordan Parkway on the AU campus. Although Auburn already is recognized as a national leader in the meat and animal sciences fields, Dr. Wayne Greene, head of the AU Department of Animal Sciences, said the facility positions the university for even greater success in the future.Some 300 undergraduate students, 20 graduate students, 20 animal science faculty members and thousands of producers and meat industry representatives will use these facilities for teaching, research and extension, he said.The beef unit is named in honor of former AU Vice President Stanley P. Wilson, and the meats lab is named for former Alabama Cattlemen’s Association (ACA) President J. Ernest Lambert and ACA Executive Vice President Dr. Billy Powell. The agriculture bond issue provided $5.5 million for the project, which was supplemented with private donations. Those included $200,000 from Alfa Insurance, $200,000 from the Stanley P. Wilson family, $30,000 from the Alabama Farmers Federation’s commodity committees and a total of $54,500 from county Federations in Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Bullock, Coffee, Covington, Cullman, Dallas, Lee, Lowndes, Marengo, Marshall, Pickens, Russell, Walker and Wilcox counties.Federation Area Organization Director (and former Beef Director) Raleigh Wilkerson served on the fundraising committee. He said the new facility will strengthen Alabama’s beef industry.”Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders,” Wilkerson said. “It’s important that these students be trained using the latest equipment and technology so Alabama can remain competitive in the beef cattle industry and in the meat and livestock sectors.”Prior to the dedication of the beef unit and meats lab, Richardson, Greene and others broke ground for the Swine Research and Education Complex, which will be constructed on the site of the old Swine Nutrition Unit on Shug Jordan Parkway.Federation Pork Director Brian Hardin praised the state’s pork producers and former Federation Pork Director Jack McGaughy for getting the swine complex included in the agriculture bond issue.”As an industry, we want to provide researchers with a facility where they can make a difference, not just for Auburn University, but also for our state and beyond,” Hardin said. “This unit will be a state-of-the-art facility where scientists can conduct research that will help make farmers more profitable; improve the quality and value of pork for consumers; and help ensure that we continue to have a safe, abundant and affordable supply of food.”

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