Gov. Kay Ivey joins the AL Dept. of Agriculture and Industries in groundbreaking ceremony for new labs
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) -Governor Kay Ivey, Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and industries, Rick Pate, Auburn University President Christopher Roberts, and local officials broke ground on a replacement facility that’s been three years in the making.
For more than 50 years, The Gilmer-Turnham Building has been the site for both the Pesticide Residue and Chemical Labs. It was dedicated in 1977 when George Wallace served as Governor.
“We couldn’t wait any longer, Alabama needed this new facility, the nation needs it, and I’m proud to say that we are getting this done today,” says Governor Ivey.
The new facility will house two new laboratories that scientists and researchers will have to better protect and expand Alabama’s agricultural markets through ensuring food is without harmful pesticides and farmers are getting what they pay for.
Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate says an update was long overdue.
“A lab is fifty years old, and if anyone knows anything about labs, so much has changed in fifty years,” says Pate.
Pate says this is something he has waited for since he took the role as commissioner. Instead of spending a few million each year in repairs, it was deemed necessary to build a brand new building.
“That’s why when I was asked to include 7 million dollars in the 2023 budget I told them absolutely not. Instead, we can do this right now.”
The estimated cost for the new 20,00 square foot building is $11.8 million.
The 21st century labs and equipment will help lab technicians and chemist assist farmers and small businesses study information on essentials like liming materials, feed, and fertilizer products.
“Fertilizer is so expensive nowadays and if they’re not getting what they’re paying for then it’s a huge cost to them and they can’t go back and produce that year once crop’s been fertilized,” says Pate.
The new state of the art laboratories will be adjacent to Auburn University campus, which can give students several learning opportunities to grow as professionals.
“This has been a very meaningful partnership through the years and we’re looking forward to doing work as it improves the quality of life for the citizenry of Alabama,” says Auburn University President, Dr. Christopher Roberts.
The anticipated new Pesticide Residue and State Chemical labs are expected to be ready in February of 2024.
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