The University of Georgia hosted Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX), chairman of the United States House Committee on Agriculture, in Athens on Saturday to tour local agricultural research facilities. Conaway has represented the 11th congressional district of Texas since 2005.

Joining Conaway were Congressman Rick Allen (R-GA), Georgia Senate Agriculture Chairman John Wilkinson (R-Toccoa), Georgia House Agriculture Chairman Tom McCall (R-Elberton), Georgia House Appropriations Chairman Terry England (R-Auburn), and Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black.

Led by Dean Sam Pardue of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the group visited the J. Phil Campbell Sr. Research and Education Center in Watkinsville. A former U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) station, the 1055-acre facility was transferred to UGA in the fall of 2013 to be used for agricultural and natural resources research, instruction, and Extension.

Conaway also visited the USDA-ARS Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory. The high-security facility focuses on influenza and other diseases affecting the poultry industry, which is the top agricultural product in Georgia. Last year, Congress appropriated the remaining $113.7 million to expand and update the $160 million facility.