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June 17, 2008   Email to Friend 

Christy Rhodes Kirk
(334) 240-7103
June 17, 2008

BOAZ, Ala. -- Dedication of the new Mitchem-Sparks State Diagnostic Laboratory will be Tuesday, June 24, at 11 a.m. The new facility at 1833 Industrial Blvd. in Boaz is a 5,069-square-foot state-of-the-art livestock and poultry diagnostic lab.

In 2007, the Boaz lab performed 206,991 tests and approximately 4,709 necropsies. The primary case load is poultry/avian, but cattle are the second largest group. Deer, goats, equine, sheep, hogs, exotic and companion animal samples are also received at the Boaz lab. The lab also works closely with state and federal wildlife agencies and law enforcement on testing and surveillance measures.

"I am so proud that Alabama has been able to lead the way with our diagnostic laboratories," said Commissioner Ron Sparks. "We have an excellent staff in Boaz. They are highly skilled in their areas of expertise and now we have a facility to match their capabilities."

According to a news release from Sparks' office, having this new facility in Boaz -- the third diagnostic lab to be built in Alabama in the last four years -- is expected to help farmers tremendously in North Alabama. Sparks said the previous facility could not accommodate large animals easily and biosecurity was a concern. The new lab will provide better isolation and biosecurity in cases of disease outbreak such as avian influenza or Foot and Mouth Disease.

The new lab will continue to receive poultry and companion animal samples, but will also be able to handle much larger livestock samples. The bigger facility will also help to meet increased consumer demands in testing for avian influenza and other diseases.

Sparks is expected to be joined at the ceremony by Senators Lowell Barron and Hinton Mitchem, Boaz Mayor Tim Walker, State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Frazier, Alabama Poultry and Egg Association Executive Director Johnny Adams, Alabama Cattlemen's Association Executive Director Dr. Billy Powell, and local city council members, county commissioners, and representatives from regional poultry companies.

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