MAGNOLIA, ARK.- Officials at Southern Arkansas University held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Feb. 1 at its new First Financial Bank Poultry Education Facility.

Trey Berry, PhD, president of Southern Arkansas University, greeted representatives from First Financial Bank of El Dorado and Farm Bureau Insurance, as well as SAU alumni, faculty and staff, to the grand opening.

“This building represents many things to SAU, including the dedication and vision of several great education partners,” Berry said. “It also represents our commitment to agriculture education. That dedication will not slow down. You see it right now all around you. The future of agriculture education is bright.”

David Lanoue, SAU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the university plans to establish a skilled workforce that will serve the poultry industry.

“Our poultry science degree option expands our offerings while meeting the needs of the industry,” he said. “Our students will have the kind of individualized training they won’t be able to get in a larger program.”

Also in attendance was Larry Daniel who is an SAU alumnus and recently retired from a management position at Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. He spoke about the importance of training students at this new facility.

“We often have to train new employees on the technical side,” he said, “but this program will allow us to hire graduates who can hit the ground running.”

In other comments, Berry thanked other industry partners that supported the project, including Chore-Time, a provider of poultry and egg production systems; Reliable Poultry Supply, a leader in poultry farm construction, and the Arkansas Farm Bureau.

All the donors participated in an “egg cracking” ceremony to commemorate the opening of the building.