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Although commercial dairies in Alabama have been on the decline in recent years, the industry continues to make large contributions to the state's economy. In 2009 164,000,000 pounds of milk were produced by 11,000 dairy cows at a value of more than $25,000,000 to the state's economy.
The Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station’s E.V. Smith Research Center Dairy Unit is the largest of the functioning dairies in the AAES system. It is a Gold Star rated dairy with IACUC* and AAALAC** accreditation. The primary function of the dairy is to provide a teaching and demonstration laboratory for veterinary school students at Auburn University and Tuskegee University.
Current projects at EVSRC include a teaching laboratory for artificial insemination, somatic cell count and development of a vaccine for Chlamydia sp. related to mastitis, a persistent, inflammatory reaction of the udder tissue in cows. This potentially fatal mammary gland infection is the most common disease in dairy cattle in the United States. It is also the most costly to the dairy industry.
*The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is a self-regulating entity that, according to U.S. federal law, must be established by institutions that use laboratory animals for research or instructional purposes to oversee and evaluate all aspects of the institution's animal care and use program.
**The Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International, or AAALAC, is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs.
Last Updated: October 17, 2011