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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Dignitaries, UF/IFAS faculty and other interested parties are scheduled to gather Thursday for a groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase of the $3.6-million renovation of the UF/IFAS Beef Teaching Unit in Gainesville.
The ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. at the south entrance to the facility at 3301 SW 23rd Terrace, near Williston Road.
The 500 undergraduates and many graduate students who spend time during their degree programs in animal sciences will have much more room to learn about how cattle help America’s economic and nutrition needs, said Geoff Dahl, professor and chair of the UF/IFAS animal sciences department.
This year, the Legislature allotted $1 million toward the renovation of the Beef Teaching Unit. UF/IFAS plans to ask the Legislature for the rest of the $2.6 million during the 2016 session, Dahl said. The facilities for working cattle and student housing had fallen into disrepair, he said. The student housing at the unit was condemned about six years ago.
The old unit housed about 900 square feet of enclosed space for housing and an additional 3,000 square feet for animal work. After the renovation, there will be 5,000 square feet of multipurpose enclosed space and another 15,000 square feet for cattle pens and working area.
In addition to the building, the unit consists of a 65-acre farm that includes a commercial 100-head feedyard and a 35-head cow herd of various types, sizes and production ability. Faculty use Charolais, Angus, Red Angus, Gelbvieh, Hotlander, Braunvieh, Brahman and Brangus bulls to create cattle of various types.
The facility is used for the following class laboratories: Introduction to Animal Sciences, Food Animal Nutrition and Feeding, Livestock and Meat Evaluation, Beef Cow-Calf Management and Beef Stocker and Feedyard Management.
Faculty at the unit also support Extension programs targeting people interested in the beef cattle industry. In-service training for agriculture teachers, Extension agents, ranchers, and 4-H volunteer leaders utilize the extensive facilities, agronomic resources and cattle inventory to provide current industry information and management practices.
“The Florida Cattlemen’s Association played a major role in securing the money from the Legislature,” Dahl said. “The Cattlemen’s Association has been very supportive of this project, and in fact the FCA Foundation is raising funds to assist with the Beef Teaching Unit renovation and for ongoing programmatic support.”
Dahl also thanked state Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, who lived at the Beef Teaching Unit during his undergraduate days at UF/IFAS, for spearheading the legislative appropriation for the unit’s renovation.
Caption: This file photo shows a cow at the UF/IFAS Beef Teaching Unit in Gainesville. A groundbreaking will be held Thursday for the first phase of the $3.6-million renovation of the Beef Teaching Unit.
By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Geoff Dahl, 352-392-1981, ext. 221, email@example.com