Springdale-based Tyson Foods and Merck Animal Health together granted a $500,000 research gift to the poultry science department at Texas A&M University to help build a new research facility in College Station, Texas.
The laboratory represents a coordinated effort to enhance the research, outreach and educational capacity for the benefit of the field of poultry science. Scientists will focus on solving intestinal health issues in poultry at the new Biological Safety Level-II (BSL-II) facility.
“This gift from Tyson Foods and Merck Animal Health demonstrates their commitment and leadership to the field of poultry science,” said Dr. David Caldwell, department head for poultry science. “As the poultry industry evolves, the need for both applied and basic research to evaluate management, nutritional, and technological approaches to maintenance of intestinal integrity and bird performance, health and welfare is increasing.”
Intestinal health is essential to commercial poultry production as a healthy intestine can digest and absorb nutrients resulting in improvements in bird performance and animal welfare. This is important to Texans because the Texas poultry industry contributes approximately $4 billion per year to the state economy and consumers spend $95 billion a year on poultry in the U.S.
Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest poultry company, has substantial assets in Texas with roughly 12,200 employees and 11 processing facilities from a large beef packing plant in Amarillo and two chicken plants in east Texas as well as five prepared foods plants near the Dallas, Fort Worth metroplex and one in Houston. There is an animal nutrition plant in south Texas near Seguin and a large case-ready beef and pork facility in Sherman.
Dr. Patrick Stover, vice chancellor and dean for agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M, said the collaboration will facilitate scientific discovery with direct industry application. He said this demonstrates a proactive approach to understanding the impact of changing industry practices on ways to mitigate challenges to bird health.