Pilgrim's Pride Corporation has donated $100,000 to Auburn University in Alabama to help fund the relocation and modernization of a new state-of-the-art poultry research facility.

"We see this as an opportunity to invest in the future innovators of the poultry industry, who will be able to assist us as we work to feed a growing world population," said Bill Lovette, Pilgrim's CEO. "If we can broaden the knowledge base by attracting students with fresh ideas about poultry production, that's a win-win for our business and for the long-term viability of this industry."

Jayson Penn, executive vice president of sales and operations for Pilgrim's, presented the donation on Sept. 23 to a group of Auburn dignitaries.

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The new Auburn research facilities will allow for increased control, precision and replication to meet research needs well into the future, as well as the ability to generate new knowledge and technology to sustain commercial poultry production. Auburn is one of six remaining dedicated poultry science departments in the U.S.

Relevant research being done at Auburn includes studies on meat quality, litter management, animal welfare and antibiotic-free production.

"Auburn University's Department of Poultry Science is extremely grateful for the long-standing relationship we have had with Pilgrim's and for this generous gift," said Donald E. Conner, PhD., head of the Department of Poultry Science at Auburn. "These funds will directly support construction of new poultry education and research farm facilities. In turn, these new facilities will provide an exceptional learning environment for our students, as well as enable the research needed to support and advance the poultry industry well into the future."