ATHENS, GA. – Oakwood, Ga.-based Wayne Farms has announced a $1.1 million donation to help build a new $54.1 million poultry science building at the University of Georgia. Wayne Farms has been a longtime supporter of the university’s poultry science department.

“The poultry industry is a complex and critical element of the nation’s food supply, and education is the key to our success,” said Clint Rivers, president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Wayne Farms. “Farm practices, science and research, food safety, animal welfare – the University of Georgia’s poultry science program is without peer across the board, and we’re proud to be part of this exciting endeavor.”

The new facility, which will feature more than 70,000 square feet of instructional and laboratory space and world-class research facilities, will be located between Boyd Hall and Conner Hall. Thanks to its contribution, Wayne Farms will name one of two learning laboratories in the new building. In addition, the new center’s state-of-the-art learning labs will enhance traditional classroom instruction with production courses, demonstrations and field-learning programs for the department’s expanding FFA, 4-H and area youth programs.

“As we’re in the season of gratitude, we are ever so thankful for this gift from Wayne Farms,” said Todd Applegate, head of the Department of Poultry Science in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). “As our curriculum is known to be very hands-on, their gift will help inspire every trailblazing student to big dreams and help prepare the next generation of leaders for the poultry sector.”

Wayne Farms, a subsidiary of Continental Grain Company, is the seventh-largest vertically integrated poultry producer in the United States, with annual sales exceeding $2 billion. The poultry producer owns and operates 11 fresh and further-processed facilities throughout the Southeast, produces more than 2.6 billion lbs of poultry products each year and employs more than 9,000 people.

“Wayne Farms has been a longtime partner for CAES in poultry science research, teaching and outreach – we are thankful for their investment in the future of poultry science research and instruction,” said Nick Place, dean and director of CAES. “This learning lab, with state-of-the-art technology, will enable CAES to continue providing the kind of hands-on education that transforms the poultry science industry, not only in Georgia but throughout the world.”

The campaign to build the new poultry science building has been a public-private partnership. The state of Georgia has allocated $23.9 million for planning and construction. In addition, there have been financial contributions from industry, alumni and other donors helping to reach the goal of $27 million in private funding for the project.