Mississippi State University officials commemorated the completion of the university’s new Poultry Science Building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 9.

The 27,300-square-foot building and its 4,700-square-foot connector building adjoins the 34,500-square-foot Animal and Dairy Sciences Building, which opened last fall. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences three-building complex at the corner of Blackjack Road and Hail State Boulevard also includes the 15,000-square-foot Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory completed in fall 2018.

“The new Poultry Science Building provides our students and faculty with an exceptional teaching, learning and research environment,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “This building, as well as the recently completed Meat Science and Muscle Biology Lab and the Animal and Dairy Sciences Building, will further enhance Mississippi State’s national and international leadership in agricultural sciences research and education.”

Reuben Moore, interim vice president of the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine and interim director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, emphasized how the facility is vital in the advancement of one of Mississippi’s most important industries, which has a total impact of $20 billion on Mississippi’s economy and employs approximately 28,500 growers and workers in the Magnolia State alone, according toNational Chicken Council and U.S. Poultry and Egg Association reports published earlier this year.

“Poultry and eggs are Mississippi’s largest agricultural commodity,” Moore said. “This new facility will enhance our programs to support this industry through research and outreach, as well as train the next generation of professionals to work in the poultry industry.”

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Mary Beck, professor and head of MSU’s Department of Poultry Science, said the building is a vision and process several years in the making. 

“This new building will enhance our abilities to serve our students, clientele, and the state of Mississippi. This long-time vision and process came with support from the poultry industry and the university, our dedicated faculty and staff, and our amazing students and their parents,” Beck said. “We're very excited to move into this wonderful new space which provides easier access to the H. H. Leveck Animal Research Center, where a good portion of our teaching and research activities are conducted.”

The Poultry Science Building will service the department’s growing student body, which includes approximately 70 undergraduates and 20 graduate students. The facility also will house the department’s 26 faculty members and staff. The space includes two classrooms, faculty offices, a conference room and a graduate assistant suite. There are 10 state-of-the-art research and teaching laboratories including the Dr. Elbert and Anne Day Teaching Laboratory, which is dedicated space for any class with a hands-on lab component, including avian anatomy and physiology, avian reproduction, diseases of poultry, broiler production, processing and more. The building includes two labs dedicated to physiology, a five-room nutrition suite, a three-room microbiology/cell culture suite, a molecular lab and another lab, which will be dedicated to poultry products. 

“Labs are assigned to specific faculty, or faculty groups, based on primary usage and expertise; however, we have a tradition of joint use access, so that everyone in the department needing it has access to all relevant equipment and space,” Beck explained.  

MSU’s Department of Poultry Science, one of only six poultry science degree-granting departments in the U.S., offers a bachelor’s degree in poultry science with concentrations in applied poultry management and science, and pre-veterinary science. Master’s and doctoral degrees also are offered in agriculture with a poultry science concentration. The department includes faculty members in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the MSU Extension Service.