At 20th Anniversary Celebration, $1.3 million Tyson Foods Gift Presented to Innovate Poultry Facilities in Fayetteville
By Mark Scott
U of A System Division of Agriculture
- The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, which is housed in the John W. Tyson Building. It is one of the largest facilities dedicated to research on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.
- Tyson Foods has donated $1.3 million to innovate and renovate existing UA System Division of Agriculture research facilities in Fayetteville.
- The grant will allow for a series of improvements to poultry components of the Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Fayetteville, including the construction of facilities for community-focused education and existing research conducted by the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Tyson Foods Inc. has awarded a $1.3 million gift to the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture aimed at further innovating and updating the Division’s poultry Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Fayetteville. The announcement came Tuesday as the Division of Agriculture celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, housed in a building named for Tyson Foods founder John Tyson. Governor Asa Hutchinson was the keynote speaker at the event.
Tyson Foods’ gift, which will be used to modernize the Division’s poultry research facilities in northern Fayetteville adjacent to Garland Avenue, includes $300,000 to renovate the Division’s Pilot Processing Plant by adding stadium seating for educational involvement and a pilot test kitchen for relevant research. It allows for several additional improvements to the facilities at the UA Division of Agriculture’s Agricultural Experiment Station, which has been headquartered in Fayetteville for more than 125 years.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity to innovate our poultry research facilities in Fayetteville, and we are extremely thankful to Tyson Foods for its continued commitment to poultry research and the future of agriculture in Arkansas,” said Dr. Mark Cochran, the UA System’s Vice President for Agriculture. “We are most excited about the ways this grant will allow our research facilities to address the relevant issues facing the poultry industry and facilitate our capacity to engage more with the public, including children and young researchers who will be the future of agricultural research in our state.”
“The great Arkansas poultry pioneers envisioned a place where students can learn from the best and learn how to be the best, in what is now one of the largest teaching and research facility on this campus,” said John Tyson, Chairman of Tyson Foods. “The poultry science program at the University of Arkansas wouldn’t be what it is today without the commitment of the University of Arkansas, the faculty who’ve spent countless hours introducing new opportunities and challenges for their students, and the myriad of folks in the industry and community. It’s an outstanding facility that’s helped shape leaders in the poultry industry and will continue to do so for years to come.”
The gift includes $200,000 to construct an education center aimed specifically at attracting young students who can learn about Arkansas’ rich history of poultry production and research, along with community-focused programs to better share research with the general public. Through field trips and after-school and summer activities, the new facility will allow researchers the opportunity to create specific programming for young students to foster a better understanding of agriculture and poultry in Arkansas.
Additionally, the gift includes:
- Landscaping to improve west and north sides of poultry research farm along Meadow Valley Trail, $100,000.
- Constructing a new antibiotic-free research facility, $200,000.
- Renovation of an existing building for genetics research, $100,000.
- Constructing a new disease research facility/enteric pathogen testing facility as a broiler/turkey floor pen testing house for challenge models, $150,000.
- Renovating two broiler research houses to increase broiler floor pen trial capabilities for allied/industry trials, $150,000.
- Renovating an existing building into a broiler breeder cage facility that will allow the Division to exceed welfare standards of broiler breeders and improve research capabilities, $100,000.
“The poultry research farm is a central part of the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science. Thanks to the support from Tyson Foods, George’s, and Simmons Foods – along with future donors who will join efforts to make the innovative improvements – our poultry research will mimic industry efficiencies,” said Dr. Michael Kidd, director of the Division’s Center of Excellence for Poultry Science and head of the Department of Poultry Science in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. “This gift is a testament of our faculty’s expertise and their continued efforts in relevant research facilities that impact the lives of Arkansans.”
The Tyson Foods gift is a matching gift with a challenge to the poultry and allied poultry industries to match the initial gift dollar for dollar. As such, Tyson Foods intends the final total gift, once the challenge is fully accepted, to be $2.6 million, with the total proceeds to be used for the betterment of the entire poultry industry. It was also announced Tuesday that George’s Inc. and Simmons Foods, Inc., both poultry companies based in Arkansas, have each contributed $100,000 to research facility innovations.
CELEBRATION MARKS 20 YEARS
Tuesday included a day-long celebration honoring the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, including a free chicken fajita lunch provided to students, faculty, staff, and guests on the Fayetteville campus, along with the unveiling of a documentary highlighting the history of poultry research in Arkansas titled “Excellent Partners: Creating the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science.” In addition to Governor Hutchinson, notable speakers such as Sen. David Pryor, a current member of the UA System Board of Trustees; Archie Schaffer, the former Chief of Staff to Senator Dale Bumpers; Interim University of Arkansas Chancellor Dan Ferritor; Arkansas Poultry Federation President Marvin Childers; and Drs. Cochran and Kidd spoke at events throughout the day.
The John W. Tyson Building and the center of Excellence for Poultry Science were originally dedicated and opened in 1995 with Senator Bumpers, then-Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, Former Division of Agriculture VP Milo Shult, and Ferritor, who was the UA chancellor at the time, making remarks.
Hutchinson, the current governor and a former Congressman who represented the research center and championed agricultural issues while serving in U.S. House of Representatives, said the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science has created an economic boost to the state during the past 20 years by “attracting and retaining young, skilled professionals.”
“Agriculture is the state’s number one industry, and the poultry industry is the largest contributor,” Hutchinson said. “It’s no surprise that poultry science is so vital to our state’s economy. For more than 20 years, this center has enhanced the skills of scholars and faculty with state-of-the-art training and research facilities. It has helped keep Arkansas competitive in the global economy.”
ABOUT THE JOHN W. TYSON BUILDING
The John W. Tyson Building, which houses the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, is one of the largest research facilities on the University of Arkansas campus. It is comprised of a lab wing, an atrium and an office wing. The lab wing has 100 laboratory modules, environmental chambers, walk-in freezers and coolers, teaching labs and a computer lab, kitchen and tasting booths for sensory evaluation and other research support facilities. The office wing has space for faculty, support staff and graduate student offices. The wings are connected by the atrium, which includes the Pioneer Room, conference rooms, resource rooms, and lounge areas. The atrium also opens into the Leland Tollett Auditorium.
The John W. Tyson Building was originally made possible by $10 million in federal grants sponsored by Sen. Dale Bumpers, $5 million from the Arkansas College Bond Issue Program approved in a state-wide election, and $5 million from Arkansas industries. In addition to the John W. Tyson building, the $20 million building program also included a 10,000-square-foot pilot processing plant.
ABOUT TYSON FOODS
Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN), with headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, is one of the world's largest food companies with leading brands such as Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Sara Lee®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells® and State Fair®. It’s a recognized market leader in chicken, beef and pork as well as prepared foods, including bacon, breakfast sausage, turkey, lunchmeat, hot dogs, pizza crusts and toppings, tortillas and desserts. The company supplies retail and foodservice customers throughout the United States and approximately 130 countries. Tyson Foods was founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson, whose family has continued to lead the business with his son, Don Tyson, guiding the company for many years and grandson, John H. Tyson, serving as the current chairman of the board of directors. The company currently has approximately 113,000 Team Members employed at more than 400 facilities and offices in the United States and around the world. Through its Core Values, Code of Conduct and Team Member Bill of Rights, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity and trust and is committed to creating value for its shareholders, customers and Team Members. The company also strives to be faith-friendly, provide a safe work environment and serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it.
ABOUT THE UA SYSTEM DIVISION OF AGRICULTURE
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture makes a positive impact for that key industry through the research done by the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and the teaching done by the Cooperative Extension Service. Its mission is to advance the stewardship of natural resources and the environment, cultivate the improvement of agriculture and agribusiness, develop leadership skills and productive citizenship among youth and adults, enhance economic security and financial responsibility among the citizens of the state, ensure a safe, nutritious food supply, improve the quality of life in communities across Arkansas, and strengthen Arkansas families. You'll find the Division in all 75 Arkansas counties, on five university campuses, at five research and extension centers and at eight branch experiment stations. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Mark Scott, Chief Communications Officer
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
Krista Cupp, Corporate Affairs and Public Relations
Tyson Foods, Inc.