This story was originally published on CAES Newswire on December 22, 2021.
Georgia-based Wayne Farms has announced a $1.1 million donation to help build a new Poultry Science Building at the University of Georgia. Wayne Farms is a longtime supporter of the university’s poultry science department, which is ranked one of the top such programs in the nation.
“The poultry industry is a complex and critical element of the nation’s food supply, and education is the key to our success. Farm practices, science and research, food safety, animal welfare — the University of Georgia’s poultry science program is without peer across the board, and we’re proud to be part of this exciting endeavor,” said Clint Rivers, president, CEO and chairman of the board of Wayne Farms and immediate past president of the National Chicken Council.
The new $54.1 million facility will be located between Boyd Hall and Conner Hall and will be a centerpiece of the university’s recruitment effort for new talent in poultry science. Wayne Farms’ contribution will name one of two learning laboratories in the new building, which when complete will feature more than 70,000 square feet of instructional and laboratory space and world-class research facilities. In addition to classroom and research facilities, the new center’s state-of-the-art learning labs will bolster traditional classroom instruction with production courses, demonstrations and field-learning programs for the department’s expanding FFA, 4-H and area youth programs.
“As we’re in the season of gratitude, we are ever so thankful for this gift from Wayne Farms. As our curriculum is known to be very hands-on, their gift will help inspire every trailblazing student to big dreams and help prepare the next generation of leaders for the poultry sector,” said Todd Applegate, head of the Department of Poultry Science in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES).
Ranked one of the top poultry science programs in the nation, the 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 decades. The department and its faculty are renowned for driving innovative advances into the poultry sector.
Wayne Farms is the seventh-largest vertically integrated poultry producer in the U.S., with annual sales exceeding $2 billion. A subsidiary of Continental Grain Company, Wayne Farms owns and operates 11 fresh and further-processed facilities throughout the Southeast, produces more than 2.6 billion pounds of poultry products each year and employs more than 9,000 individuals.
“Wayne Farms has been a longtime partner for CAES in poultry science research, teaching and outreach — we are thankful for their investment in the future of poultry science research and instruction,” said CAES Dean and Director Nick Place. “This learning lab, with state-of-the-art technology, will enable CAES to continue providing the kind of hands-on education that transforms the poultry science industry, not only in Georgia but throughout the world.”
The Poultry Science Building campaign is a public-private partnership. Thus far, the state of Georgia has allocated a total of $23.9 million for planning and construction of the new building. Robust support from industry, alumni and other donors has contributed to significant progress toward the goal of $27 million in private funding for the project, said Mary Ann Parsons, CAES senior director of development.
To learn more about the Poultry Science Building and ways to support the project, visit poultrybuilding.caes.uga.edu.