New Georgia Poultry Lab in Business

US - The new facilities of Georgia's Poultry Laboratory are working well in their search for solutions to challenging poultry diseases.
calendar icon 30 December 2014
clock icon 4 minute read

The Georgia Poultry Laboratory is up and running in North Hall County, with ties mostly cut to its 50-year-old building in Oakwood, reports Gainesville Times.

Executive Director, Dr Louise Dufour-Zavala, said: “There have been no delays, no major hurdles, and everybody has a smile on their face. I’m just proud of making this transition just so smooth, from industry to my employees.”

The lab had operated since the early 1960s out of a red-brick, single-story structure off Oakwood Road. The building began wearing out, with part of it condemned, prompting officials to begin replacement efforts.

The process was kick-started five years ago when former Governor Sonny Perdue included the $13-million project in a state budget.

The first day of operation was 8 December at the new 38,000-square-foot building, which is in Gateway Industrial Centre off Ga. 365 and north of White Sulphur Road.

With highly technical equipment, including robotics, that needed to be in place and working with little lag time, this was not a move that consisted just of packing up boxes and heading across the county.

Dr Dufour-Zavala said: “In one of (the) departments, it was like a phased move, where there was no delay at all in testing, and it went flawlessly. We moved the large robots with no issues, and industries have found the lab. It’s like working in Oakwood, but we’re here.”

The lab works to keep Georgia’s poultry industry healthy, providing a range of services, including disease monitoring and testing, chick quality assurance and hatchery inspections.

One of the new building’s key features is the mezzanine, where people — from industries to church and school groups — can tour the facility without entering infected areas.

An expected main attraction will be the serology lab, where the robots are used.

The lab has held a “friends and family” night for employees to show off their new workplace.

Dr Dufour-Zavala explained: “That (was) the first major influx of a lot people here at one time,” but that no tours have been scheduled yet.

“I have to contact the international groups to make sure they know that we’re ready to go whenever they have delegations.”

The annual International Production and Processing Expo at the Georgia World Congress Center is set for 27 to 29 January.

She said: “There’s always people coming in (the lab) at that time. I anticipate the first big tours from international delegations to be about that time.”

Lab dedication and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, featuring Governor Nathan Deal, are set for 9 January.

Mike Giles, president of the Gainesville-based Georgia Poultry Federation, lauded the move.

He said: “It’s great that the vision for the lab has moved through the design and construction processes and is now becoming a reality. We’re very excited about the capabilities and the resources it brings to the poultry industry to protect the health of the poultry flock in Georgia.

“We believe this lab will put us in great position to deliver services to the poultry industry for decades to come.”

The old Oakwood lab is still in operation.

Dr Dufour-Zavala told Gainsville Times: “We’re still going to go back and forth a little bit (after the move) because we don’t have a storage building here yet,” and that work may wrap up there by February.

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