The Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center has received a $25,000 gift from the Cuming County Livestock Feeders Association.
The gift, made to the University of Nebraska Foundation, supports plans to replace the aging Veterinary Diagnostic Center that no longer meets modern laboratory standards. The center provides veterinary testing services to professionals and organizations across the nation. It is considered a national center of excellence for testing of certain diseases in livestock.
The new facility will allow UNL to better serve veterinarians, livestock producers, public health officials and others in Nebraska and around the country who depend on the lab’s services.
Recognizing the state’s need for a new center, the Nebraska Legislature committed to provide $41.5 million in funding through the Building a Healthier Nebraska initiative once $4.15 million is first raised from private sources. To date more than $3 million of private and other support has been raised. University officials hope to launch the project before the conclusion of 2014.
Ron Coufal, president of the Cuming County Livestock Feeders Association, said the organization is proud to invest in a new veterinary diagnostic facility for the state.
“Cuming County is the largest agriculture producing county and helps Nebraska continue its number one status in the beef industry,” Coufal said. “It is only fitting that our association help Nebraska continue that ranking in all areas of livestock production, as 86 percent of agriculture revenue in the county comes from livestock with beef being the largest contributor.”
Built in 1975, the Veterinary Diagnostic Center on UNL’s East Campus has become outdated. According to an accreditation review last year by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, there is a need for facility upgrades and additional space to continue its responsiveness in the development and implementation of new technologies and to address biosafety and biosecurity concerns, or the center may face loss of accreditation.
In addition to serving livestock producers, the Veterinary Diagnostic Center provides training for large animal veterinarians, a profession currently in demand in Nebraska. The center provides these future doctors with hands-on experience by studying specimens from current, real life animal cases. University faculty instructors and researchers conduct tests and perform research in the center that impacts agriculture across the country.
The center is also a diagnostic resource for most small animal veterinarians in Nebraska who use the laboratory’s services for quick turnaround and accurate testing of diseases specific to family pets.
Public health officials in Nebraska even rely on the Veterinary Diagnostic Center to help protect the health of humans through diagnostic testing of certain diseases that can transfer from animals to humans, such as rabies, West Nile, H1N1 and others. The center provides disease surveillance, develops new diagnostic testing methods, conducts infectious disease research and supports continuing education programs.
Support for the Veterinary Diagnostic Center initiative has also been received by numerous other generous organizations and associations including the Nebraska Cattlemen, Boone Nance Cattleman, South Central Cattlemen, Exeter Feeders and Breeders, Thayer County Livestock Feeders, Saunders County Livestock Association, Morrill County Cattlemen and Bridgeport Affiliate.