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College of Agriculture receives $500,000 gift from Alabama company

College of Agriculture receives $500,000 gift from Alabama company

Members of the Fortenberry family present a $500,000.00 check to Auburn administration at the Charles Miller Poutry Research and Education Center

A $500,000 gift to the Auburn University College of Agriculture from Crossville, Alabama–based D & F Equipment Sales Inc. and its founding Fortenberry family will support ongoing development of the Charles C. Miller Jr. Poultry Research and Education Center, located at the North Auburn campus.

Larry Fortenberry, company cofounder and co-owner, said supporting Auburn in its efforts to build a comprehensive poultry research and education facility was important for the whole poultry industry, and he urged other national poultry-related operations to support the project as well.

“The Miller Center is going to greatly advance the poultry industry worldwide,” Fortenberry said. “Poultry has been good to me and to my family and to many other families. I challenge everyone in the U.S. poultry industry give back to our industry by supporting Auburn’s efforts to build a world-class poultry research center.”

Specifically, the Fortenberry gift will help fund construction of a state-of-the-art poultry research and educational processing plant that will facilitate efforts related to processing efficiency, animal welfare, food safety and quality, and value-added product development. Groundbreaking for the facility is tentatively set for fall 2018, pending its approval by the Auburn Board of Trustees as part of phase three of the 30-acre Miller Center. The processing plant will be the sixth building to be constructed at the site with an additional 14 buildings currently planned.

“Auburn University’s Department of Poultry Science greatly appreciates the Fortenberry family’s generous gift and longstanding support of our efforts to build the nation’s premier, poultry research and education center,” said Don Conner, poultry science department head. “The Fortenberry family has a demonstrated record of generosity to our program that includes scholarship gifts, donated materials and shared industry expertise. We value our continued partnership with them.”

Fortenberry said the whole family endorsed supporting the Miller Center.

“It’s going to be world-renowned,” he said. “People will be coming to Auburn from all over the world to study the poultry industry. Auburn has thanked us for our donation, but we thank them for their efforts. It’s an honor for my family to give to this project.”

Laura Cauthen