A $500,000 gift to Auburn University’s 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, based at the North Auburn campus.
Larry Fortenberry, company founder and co-owner, urged other national poultry-related operations to support the project as well because Auburn’s comprehensive poultry research and education facility is important for the whole poultry industry.
“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 to 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.
“We greatly appreciate 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, head of Auburn’s Department of Poultry Science. “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.”
Groundbreaking for the processing plant is tentatively set for fall, pending approval by the Auburn Board of Trustees as part of phase three of the 30-acre Miller Center. The plant will be the sixth building constructed at the center, with an additional 14 buildings planned.
“It’s going to be world-renowned,” Fortenberry said of the Miller Center. “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.”