South Farm Poultry Unit

By: Karen Brasher

South Farm Poultry Unit

Poultry Unit: (L to R) Tom Tuck, Esteban Ruiz, Jonathan Moon, Judias Neal, Bailey Breeland, Cameron Mangano. (Photo by Karen Brasher)

The MAFES H. H. Leveck Animal Research Center, known as South Farm, includes 1,100 acres of grazing land and houses the Beef Unit, Poultry Unit, Equine Unit, Aquaculture Unit, and Facilities Unit. Caring for livestock is a daily job, 365 days a year. The dedicated personnel at these units care and feed for the animals, while also facilitating the research and teaching programs. The farm and its livestock provide an ample training ground for students in all majors, particularly those in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, Department of Poultry Science, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Jonathan Moon and his five-person crew maintain the poultry facilities on campus. The complex includes 17 buildings with 10 of those buildings providing housing for birds at various stages of their life cycle. Every aspect of poultry science is covered on the complex from the hatchery, to commercial houses, judging and student houses, and caged layers. The facility also includes a feed mill, processing facility, and biosecure laboratory. Moon, a graduate of MSU's poultry science program, has been with the university for six years. He is currently pursuing a master's degree while working full-time. Houses are divided among the crew for the morning chores, which include feeding and checking on all the birds. The afternoons are generally used to assist with research and teaching laboratories. The crew includes Judias Neal, a research technician with the poultry facility for seven years. Prior to working in poultry, he worked for the aquaculture facility. Tom Tuck, agricultural technician, has been with the facility for eight years. Bailey Breeland, agricultural assistant, first came to the facility as a student worker and then accepted a full-time position about four years ago. The two newest members of the poultry crew have been employed at the facility for six months. Esteban Ruiz, agricultural technician, and Cameron Mangano, research technician. Mangano graduated with a degree in animal and dairy sciences and took a position in poultry upon graduation.