Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Ken Givens joined UT Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes and other state and local officials gathered to dedicate the new West Tennessee Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, May 22, on the UT Martin campus.
“The new West Tennessee Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory is a prime example of how the Agricultural Enhancement Program is making a positive difference for our state,” said Gov. Phil Bredesen, who was represented by Givens at the dedication.
“I want to commend UT Martin for delivering on a promise to operate a first-class facility with first-class service,” said Givens. “This is a great day for Tennessee agriculture and particularly for the livestock industry in West Tennessee. Not only will this facility function as an integral part of a statewide animal disease network, but it will help to further diversify and support the development of our livestock industry in West Tennessee.”
The partnership between the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and UTMartin was made possible by the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program, established in 2005 by Bredesen and supported by the Tennessee General Assembly.
The laboratory opening follows an announcement in fall 2006 of a partnership between the TDA and UT Martin to improve cattle management and health in West Tennessee with a mobile, high-tech trailer funded by the TAEP that is being used as a tool to educate and demonstrate proper cattle management and care. In fiscal year 2006, a total of $750,000 from TAEP funded renovations and equipment for the new laboratory.
University of Tennessee President John Petersen was represented by Dr. Joseph DiPietro, UT vice president for agriculture.
“With the establishment of the West Tennessee Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab at UT Martin, each region of the state is now equipped to identify and monitor animal health concerns such as foreign animal disease, herd disease outbreaks, secure the safety of the food supply, maximize animal health and assure public health,” said DiPietro.
“This is a great example of our continuing partnership with the state to ensure an increased level of special services to those within our region,” said Chancellor Rakes. “We are fortunate to have this unique laboratory facility located in West Tennessee.”
For more information about the West Tennessee Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, contact Dr. Janet Bailey, facilities manager, at 731-881-1071.