Auburn is continuing to solidify itself as a leader in the poultry industry.
On April 10, the Charles C. Miller Jr. Poultry Education and Research Center will cut the ribbon for its fifth and newest building.
The first building constructed for the Miller Center was the feed mill, which opened in 2012. Phase one officially began in 2016 with the construction of three additional buildings, which included two research buildings and the National Poultry Technology Center Building.
“It’s a place where students can get experience working in all facets of the poultry industry,” said Paul Patterson, dean of the College of Agriculture.
Auburn plays a prominent role in the rapidly growing field of poultry science in Alabama. According to Patterson, the poultry industry is the largest agricultural sector in Alabama, and Alabama ranks as the second-largest poultry producer in the nation.
“We are training our students to be leaders in this industry,” said Donald Conner, head of the department of poultry science. “We are doing research to address key issues in the industry and continuing education to make sure that the people who work in the industry have the latest information and knowledge.”
The new administration and education building strives to help students excel in the growing poultry industry.
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“These new buildings are very modern, state of the art,” Conner said. “They’re designed to enhance teaching. The pieces of equipment we will be working with are very accessible, and there’s extra space to enhance teaching. So, all of our facilities were designed with the student in mind.”
Patterson said there are many aspects of the new administration and education building that will help students learn all they can about the industry in Alabama. Firstly, the building is equipped with new classrooms and conference rooms by students for courses and industry workshops. The building also provides office space for the farm managers.
According to Patterson, this building will serve as a gateway to the research farm.
“Research with animals today is conducted in biosecure areas, so you have to go through a special access area to get to the entire farm,” Patterson said. “On our research farms, we give our students the opportunities to work on the farms so students will have to go through that biosecure area. There’s a place where students can gather and learn within the biosecure area as well.”
The Miller Center has a lot planned for the next couple of years.
“In the next two years, there will be a tremendous expansion of the center,” Conner said. “We’ve got five facilities now, so in the next two years we will build a very large processing plant and about 14 additional buildings.”
Patterson said the Miller Center has broken ground on their processing plant and plans on building a hatchery, chamber facility, numerous support buildings, other research buildings where chickens will be reared for research and a laboratory where they can examine birds in student classes.
“These facilities will be the best facilities in the nation, if not the world,” Patterson said. “It’s an opportunity for Auburn University to differentiate itself from other institutions. The poultry industry is the largest agricultural sector in Alabama, so this is the right project at the right time at the right place.”
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