For immediate release:
June 28, 2016

Hannah Marr
Shareese Churchill

Governor Larry Hogan Tours Animal Health Lab
Department of Agriculture’s Salisbury Buildings to Undergo $17.2 Million Renovation

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today toured the state’s Animal Health Laboratory, which is operated by the Maryland Department of Agriculture in Salisbury. Built in 1951, this facility is slated for a $17 million renovation. The new building will be built next to the current facility in Wicomico County, which will be demolished once the new lab is completed.

“The current health lab is more than 60 years old, and providing the funding for this new facility in our budget was a top priority,” said Governor Hogan. “The new lab will help the state keep pace with the demands of an increasingly more complex and integrated global market, while providing the diagnostic functions we need to better protect the poultry industry, livestock, and public health.”

The FY17 capital budget includes $750,000 to begin the design of this project, which will replace the lab and adjoining building. These buildings are vital to protecting the poultry industry and public health, and will serve as primary resources for avian influenza. Total estimated cost for planning, construction, and equipment is $17.2 million.

Poultry is the largest agricultural sector in Maryland, comprising nearly 40 percent of all farm receipts. The Salisbury lab has a large molecular diagnostic capability to assist the high volume of testing needed for the poultry industry, primarily used for the detection of Avian Influenza Virus, Newcastle Disease Virus, Infectious Bronchitis Virus, Infectious Laryngotracheitis Virus, Salmonella, and Mycoplasma diseases. The lab also tests for equine infectious anemia, Exotic Newcastle Disease, swine influenza virus (SIV), porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), and porcine epidemic delta corona virus (PEDCov).

The Maryland Department of Agriculture operates two veterinary diagnostic laboratories – Frederick focuses primarily on livestock health and Salisbury focuses primarily on poultry health. The Salisbury laboratory is expanding to better service multiple species. The mission of the laboratories is to prevent and control infectious and contagious diseases in Maryland livestock and poultry with particular emphasis on those diseases that threaten public health, endanger foods supplies, or threaten the economic security of the animal industries.

Both facilities are accredited by the American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). Laboratory accreditation demonstrates competence, reliability, impartiality, performance capability, and data traceability that meets or exceeds national and international standards.