Animal laboratory will be build off Nanticoke Road

A new facility off Nanticoke Road will replace an original state lab, which was built in 1953, and is in need of major renovations.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of its new Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory on Nanticoke Road in Salisbury.

Specializing in poultry disease, the new Salisbury lab will play a critical role in regional efforts to safeguard the health of millions of birds on the Delmarva Peninsula. The department works closely with state and federal counterparts, as well as private and commercial veterinarians, to protect Maryland’s agriculture industry against infectious diseases like avian influenza and equine infectious anemia.

“Delmarva’s $3.4 billion chicken community relies on the Salisbury Animal Health Lab, along with Lasher Lab in Delaware, to help us constantly monitor the health of farmers’ flocks for any sign of disease,” said Holly Porter, Executive Director of Delmarva Poultry Industry. “It’s dedicated teamwork that brings farmers, chicken companies, and these labs together to keep our food safe.”

The new Salisbury facility will replace the department’s original lab, which was built in 1953, and is in need of major renovations. At 19,178 square feet, the new lab provides larger work areas; public meetings and training facilities; two necropsy suites; a new incinerator; and a Biosafety Level 3 laboratory for advanced diagnostic work.

“The construction of a new Salisbury Animal Health Lab has been a priority for our administration,” said Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder. “This state-of-the-art facility will be our first line of defense in preventing and controlling infectious diseases in livestock and poultry. Agriculture is critical to Maryland’s economy, and this will enhance our ability to promote animal health while securing the safety and continued success of the industry.”

In addition to expanding the lab’s capacity and capabilities, the new building will be LEED Silver certified and will have hook-ups for natural gas to improve the building’s energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. Construction is expected to be completed in March 2021.

“I am happy to be here today as we celebrate a major step forward for the Animal Health Program,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Michael Odian. “This project is the culmination of work that began with my predecessor, Dr. Michael Radebaugh, and our outstanding team at the Salisbury Animal Health Lab. This new facility will bolster our program with the resources it needs to continue striving for excellence in our diagnostic services.”

The groundbreaking featured remarks from Bartenfelder, Porter and Odian, along with Maryland Secretary of General Services Ellington E. Churchill Jr. and Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse.

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