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Serving: IN

Southern Indiana Disease Lab Celebrates 40 Years Next Month

New building also dedicated at SIPAC farm.

The hardest Purdue farm to find for most folks is where the action is next month. It's at the Southern Indiana Purdue Ag Center, or SIPAC, near Dubois, Ind., No main highways lead to the farm, nestled amongst steep, rolling hills in southern Indiana. It was the site of one of the biggest hay days ever held, back in the late '70s when Vermeer and others first introduced big round bales. 

SIPAC is also home to southern Indiana's version of the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. A part of the system that begins with the primary ADDA lab on the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, the Dennis H. Heeke ADDL lab was started in 1969, primarily to serve poultry producers in that part of the state. The lab's primary goal is to determine the cause of a disease, so producers can take steps to limit its severity and bring it under control quickly.

"By 1978, we started handling livestock cases too," says Duane Murphy, a vet pathologist at the center today. His counterpart works with poultry. The lab employs five people overall. Today, the poultry side serves turkey producer, those raising and selling eggs, and broiler producers. With the advent of Tyson into southern Indiana, there are now considerably more broiler operations in that part of the state than there were before.

On the mammalian side, hogs and cattle were the two species looked at most often when the lab made the switch in 1978. Today, however, they also deal with cases for horses and even for pets.

One main goal is to perform necropsies, the version of an autopsy in an animal. Many times the lab works in conjunction with a local veterinarian. Vets also send tissue samples to the lab for analysis. Farmers may bring in dead animals on their own to have them necropsied to determine cause of death.

The forty year anniversary of providing expanding service in the same facility will be celebrated in a private ceremony early next month. At the same time, a building on the SIPAC site will be dedicated. It provides office space but also will provide much needed meeting room space for several agencies, including ADDL, Murphy concludes.

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