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Southeast Poultry Research Lab to Receive Boost

by 5m Editor
30 June 2009, at 6:34a.m.

GEORGIA, US - The Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens is to get a slice of federal stimulus money.

The US Department of Agriculture has announced that the aging lab on College Station Road will get a $2.3 million share of $176 million the USDA will spend to upgrade research laboratories and other buildings the department owns around the country.

Athens Online reports that the funds are to upgrade and replace critical mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems in laboratories and rooms used to house animals, said USDA spokeswoman, Kim Kaplan.

Under terms of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the money cannot be used for research, Ms Kaplan said. Work on the upgrades should begin within a year, she added.

The money is unrelated to a proposal to build a larger home for the poultry lab, which originally was constructed 1960, Ms Kaplan said.

Former President Bush penciled in a $16 million budget line to design an upgraded new building two years ago but Congress did not approve the expenditure.

The Southeast Poultry Lab houses the country's major research programme on bird flu, a serious economic threat to Georgia's poultry industry. Bird flu also could become a human health threat if a bird flu virus mutates to infect humans.

The $2.3 million allocation is among the larger sums that will be distributed to more than three dozen USDA labs in 29 states.