Virginia Tech invests in new livestock, poultry facilities

Virginia Tech offers one of the largest animal science programs
calendar icon 28 July 2022
clock icon 3 minute read

Several buildings for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are nearing construction completion around Virginia Tech's Blacksburg campus that will help cement the university’s role as a source of research, education, and outreach that serves the commonwealth’s largest private industry – agriculture, according to a news release on the university's website.

The buildings, which will help the livestock and poultry industries thrive, are part of the newly formed School of Animal Sciences, which merged the departments of Animal and Poultry Sciences and Dairy Science into one cohesive unit in order to strengthen their impact on the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

“We are extremely grateful for the Commonwealth of Virginia’s support of Agency 229, which helps bolster some of the most vital industries in the state,” said Alan Grant, dean of the college who recently spoke before the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors about the construction updates.

The buildings will include a new swine research and education center, new buildings and facilities for the beef cattle and equine programs, and more. Upgrades and refurbishments to other livestock buildings around campus are also expected.

The new state-of-the-art buildings will help maximise the impact of the new school, which is one of the largest animal science programs east of the Mississippi. Research conducted at these facilities supports the industry in Virginia and across the country. In addition, these facilities provide excellent venues for hands-on, experiential learning. Each year, dozens of students volunteer or are employed by the animal units in the school. These experiences are life-changing for a large proportion of these students and led to great career opportunities in the sector and beyond, the university said.

Some of the new buildings include:

Swine Center: The new 24,000-square-foot, $5.6 million center at Kentland Farm houses a small-scale swine production and research facility, classrooms, boar housing and gestation facilities, and rooms for farrowing, nursery, and finishing. The swine industry in Virginia sees more than $58 million in cash receipts annually and the new facilities will help grow that economic impact as research and outreach to support that sector. In addition, pigs are used to study human health and well-being. Studies that help develop more effective infant formulas involve neonatal pigs. Pigs are also outstanding models to study heat stress, as pig and human physiology are closely aligned.

Beef Nutrition and Physiology Facility and Feed Storage Facility at Kentland Farm: This approximately 33,000-square-foot, $4.4 million cattle housing facility and accompanying storage facility includes a 20-stall cattle housing area for feed studies, loading chutes, a feed mixing room, laboratory space, four grain bins, four covered bulk commodity bins, and a three-sided hay shed. Programs will help support the beef cattle industry, which generates $327 million in cash receipts in Virginia annually. Studies that help the college’s stakeholders remain profitable and sustainable are greatly enhanced by the advent of these structures.

Broiler and turkey facilities: These small-scale research facilities will help grow the state’s poultry industries, which bring in more than $1 billion in cash receipts annually. The new facilities on Glade Road include pens, work areas, and feed storage. The two facilities total 22,700 square feet and are valued at more than $5 million. Creating cutting-edge information that supports and grows this economic engine for the commonwealth is one of the unit’s goals.

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