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UTIA launches advanced poultry research facility in spring hill


The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) is investing in a state-of-the-art poultry research and education facility at the Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Spring Hill. Nearly 100 officials, industry representatives, and university members attended the groundbreaking ceremony on May 2.

The facility will consist of four commercial-sized broiler production houses (54’ x 600’) and supporting facilities, including research and teaching labs and office spaces. This initiative aims to establish the premier commercial broiler research unit in the country, supporting UTIA's mission of teaching, research, and practical application.

UT System President Randy Boyd expressed gratitude to the partners and attendees, highlighting the facility's benefits in animal welfare, production efficiency, and workforce development. Key attendees included Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Charlie Hatcher, Spring Hill Mayor Jim Hagaman, Maury County Mayor Sheila Butt, Tennessee Farm Bureau President Eric Mayberry, and Tyson Foods Vice President for Live Operations Shane Joyner.

Tennessee ranks 15th nationally in broiler production, with a weekly processing capacity of over 8 million birds. Approximately 45% of global broiler meat traces back to Tennessee's breeder operations. The new facility is expected to drive further growth in the industry.

Shane Joyner emphasized the facility's focus on animal health, industry sustainability, and environmental benefits. He noted that the collaboration between UT's research capabilities and industry expertise will lead to significant advancements for processors and consumers. The facility is set to become a key talent hub for the poultry industry.

Keith Carver, UTIA Senior Vice President and Senior Vice Chancellor, and Hongwei Xin, Dean of UT AgResearch, highlighted UTIA's role in workforce education and producer success. The facility will provide opportunities in precision livestock farming, sprinkler cooling, water conservation, advanced lighting research, and animal welfare.

The facility, expected to be completed by late 2025, will house approximately 160,000 broiler chickens at full capacity.

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