JONESBORO – An $80,000 donation has been awarded to the Arkansas State University College of Agriculture from Peco Foods. The funds will be used to remodel a barn and transform the existing structure into a modern broiler house.
“We are extremely fortunate to receive funding from Peco Foods to build a modern broiler grow-out facility that will greatly increase training and research opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Donald “Bud” Kennedy, associate dean and professor of animal science in the College of Agriculture.
“As active members of the communities where we live, work and conduct business, we are honored to support Arkansas State University’s new broiler project,” said Duane Weems, Pocahontas live operations manager for Peco Foods.
The transformation of an existing barn at the A-State University Farms is scheduled to begin this week. The existing barn is a wide-open structure with a tin roof and no technology. “A new broiler complex aligns well with our new strategic plan and offers a high degree of experiential learning for students,” said Dr. Mickey Latour, dean of the College of Agriculture. He said the new facility will have fans, cooling pads, heating units that are regulated through technology to optimize bird health and growth.
“We are thankful for educational institutions like A-State who prepare our future workforce with a strong education through research and hands-on learning opportunities,” said Weems.
The strategic plan emphasizes the importance of hands-on learning. “This type of partnership aligns with the College of Agriculture’s Strategic Plan to enhance the career readiness of our students and provide high-quality employees to the largest agricultural industry in Arkansas,” said Kennedy.
Latour said that a modern broiler house would include a high degree of technology. “The technology in newer modern facilities adjust the temperature, air flow, lighting and watering automatically for the broilers,” he said.
Northeast Arkansas is dominated by crop farming but is also an ideal location for poultry production. One goal of this project is to increase opportunities for students and raise the profile for poultry production in Northeast Arkansas.
The updated facility is slated for completion in two to three months.