In Minnesota, poultry is big business. A high-tech renovation to the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory, unveiled at a grand opening last week in Willmar, expands the state’s ability to test for diseases and safeguard this $5 billion industry.
The MPTL is a cooperative venture of the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. The laboratory helps protect poultry and human health by providing rapid detection of poultry diseases and certifying poultry for shipments. 300,000 avian testing procedures are conducted each year, and the renovation will allow the MPTL to conduct new molecular tests, including Avian Influenza, Newcastle Disease and Avian Metapneumovirus.
Because it is located in the heart of poultry-producing country, the time it takes to get samples to the laboratory is reduced, which keeps beneficial resources in the community and benefits the industry. Minnesota boasts two diagnostic laboratories certified by the National Animal Health Laboratory Network—one on the U of M St. Paul campus and the new MPTL site in Willmar. Having both laboratories provides wide geographic coverage.
Dr. Shauna Voss, a program director at the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, explained that the MPTL “brings all of the state’s testing capacity and operations for poultry to one location. To have the Board of Animal Health and the University of Minnesota working together under one roof makes this a very collaborative environment,” she explained, “which in turn, better serves Minnesota’s poultry industry.”
Kirsten Gray is marketing and outreach director for University Economic Development.