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State budget includes funding for poultry science complex at UGA



GEORGIA — When Gov. Brian Kemp signed the Fiscal Year 2022 budget for the state of Georgia, he secured $21.7 million for the construction of phase one of a new Poultry Science Complex on the University of Georgia’s Athens campus.

The project will increase the size of the Department of Poultry Science’s existing facilities in UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to 75,000 square feet, expanding instructional and lab space; providing modern, student-centered facilities; and helping to attract and retain world-class researchers.

“The new building will feature facilities and equipment to provide for advanced research to keep Georgia at the forefront of forward-thinking, relevant poultry research, advancing its UGA Cooperative Extension and outreach programs,” Todd Applegate, head of the Department of Poultry Science, said. “This will keep staff on the cutting-edge to ensure that industry and government entities increasingly seek them out to address research questions. It will also strategically provide UGA with a competitive advantage in terms of attracting extramural funding to lead innovation to solve grand challenges facing the poultry sector.”

State-of-the-art learning labs will bolster the traditional classroom experience with production courses, demonstrations and relevant field-learning exercises and contribute to the department’s expanding FFA, 4-H and other youth programs, as well as assist with student recruitment efforts.

“The demand for poultry continues to grow with each new generation, and the University of Georgia is committed to attracting the best and the brightest and developing them into future leaders,” Applegate added.

The Poultry Science Complex building campaign is a public-private partnership, and the recent commitment from the Georgia legislature and Kemp marks their second and largest phase of public support of the project, which has an estimated total project budget of $54.1 million. Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2022 with completion in fall 2023.

Ranked the No. 1 poultry science program in the nation, the CAES Department of Poultry Science has been a major contributor of research and university-trained experts that have led to the exponential growth of the state’s industry for many decades. The department and its faculty are well-known for their industry-focused innovation.