"The opening of the Charles C. Allen Jr. Biotechnology Laboratory has international implications for Delmarva's poultry industry," said Charles C. "Chick" Allen III, president of his family's major poultry production business and son of the new facility's namesake.
Through the Port of Wilmington, poultry producers in Delaware and surrounding states are becoming increasingly involved in exporting goods to international destinations, said Allen, a 1971 UD graduate. Whether goods are shipped abroad or sold closer to home, keeping flocks healthy is the primary concern for growers and producers, he added.
"Avian influenza, for example, is a critical matter for poultry people around the world because it's so devastating, and there's currently no known cure," Allen said. "In Delaware, we have been lucky enough to avoid any outbreaks of avian influenza. But, as an industry, we must remain vigilant, to ensure that our poultry continues to be safe and nutritious. The Allen Biotechnology Lab will give us access to one of the world's very best disease-prevention facilities."
The facility was named in honor of Chick Allen's father, a pioneer of Delaware's poultry industry who is also a 1940 UD alumnus and a generous benefactor. Allen--along with his two brothers, his son Chick and two nephews--operate three agricultural businesses with a combined total of 2,800 employees. These businesses include Allen's Hatchery Inc.; Allen Milling Co., which manufactures poultry feed; and Allen Family Foods, which processes and transports chickens to market.
Charles Allen recalls his mother's first incubator hatching 250 chicks in 1919. Today, his family business produces 2.2 million to 2.5 million birds each week. An active UD supporter, Allen has provided $1 million for the Allen Biotechnology Lab. In 1994, he also established a Life Income Trust that will result in agricultural scholarships for undergraduate students in the future.
The new $8 million facility received $4 million in support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, $1.17 million from the state of Delaware and a total of $2.83 million from private donors, including Allen.