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Maggie Thompson standing in front of the Extension sign at Duncan Hall on Auburn University's campus

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. — Maggie Thompson began her role as the poultry veterinarian for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System June 10. This position showcases a unique partnership between Alabama Extension, the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment System (AAES).

Alabama Extension Director Mike Phillips said this addition will make immediate impacts in the poultry industry in Alabama.

“Avian influenza has been, and continues to be, a serious concern throughout the poultry industry,” Phillips said. “Dr. Thompson’s poultry disease expertise will be a tremendous asset to the state’s poultry industry, and she will excel in her role educating and updating stakeholders.”

Coming Home

As an alumna of Auburn’s Colleges of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Thompson said she is thrilled to return to the university and to have the opportunity to serve the Alabama poultry industry in this new role.

“As someone who grew up in the very small town of Opp, Alabama, where the integrated poultry industry is so important to so many families, I can think of no better way for Auburn to introduce this new position to the state than through the Alabama Cooperative Extension System,” Thompson said. “Our poultry farmers are the heartbeat of our industry. Without them, the protein we currently provide for consumers would not exist.”

A Strong Partnership

Paul Patterson, director of the AAES, said AAES is proud to partner with Alabama Extension and the College of Veterinary Medicine in supporting this much-needed position.

“Dr. Thompson brings some critical skills related to poultry health, which is important to Alabama farmers at a time when the threat of avian influenza is ever present,” said Patterson, who is also dean of the College of Agriculture. “I look forward to seeing how she collaborates with our faculty in the Department of Poultry Science and those affiliated with the National Poultry Technology Center.”

Thompson will also serve the College of Veterinary Medicine as an assistant professor in the Department of Pathobiology. Calvin Johnson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, said the college has taken a major step in hiring Thompson, an Extension veterinarian focused on poultry health.

“Dr. Thompson has excellent working relationships within the poultry industry,” Johnson said. “She will be in an excellent position to integrate current trends in poultry health with production systems, research programs and veterinary education.”

Johnson said Thompson’s appointment is a great example of the power of working across disciplines and administrative systems to address some of the most important problems facing Alabama’s food animal production industries.

Making a Difference

Phillips said Thompson will make immediate impacts in the poultry industry through close-working relationships with the diagnostic labs located on Auburn’s campus, as well as in Albertville, Hanceville and Elba. In this position, Thompson will also work closely with partners, such as Alabama Poultry and Egg Association, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, Alabama Farmers Federation, Alabama Department of Public Health and others.

“This is a monumental hire for Alabama Extension,” Phillips said. “This industry is excited, and they all know her very well. We are looking forward to what is ahead.”

More Information

Learn more about Alabama Extension’s work related to the poultry industry by visiting www.aces.edu.