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Fort Valley State University professor's parasite-resistant plant improves quality of farm products

An animal researcher at FVSU found a new, more natural way to keep farm animals healthy which could lead to better quality food on your table.

FORT VALLEY, Ga. — A research professor at Fort Valley State University is now recognized as one of the top in his field for his work in finding a healthier way to improve the equality of the meat and milk you put on your table.

Dr. Thomas Terrill has studied Animal Science at the university for almost 30 years. After 20 years of searching for an alternative to drugs, he finally found a plant.

"Farmers are losing money because drugs are expensive, and they don't work to control the parasites," Dr. Terrill says.

Dr. Terrill says one benefit of the plant is that it is less likely for parasites to adapt to it as quickly as they would a drug. 

"Sericea lespedeza is what we call a nutraceutical plant, which means it has a nutritional aspect as well as a pharmaceutical aspect," Dr. Terrill says. "It's much less likely than an animal will become resistant to it."

By taking the plant and forming them into hay or pellets, animals can consume them as a natural food. 

Research.com placed him at 654 of the top animal research scientists of the world.

Dr. Terrill says he's excited about the attention this milestone puts on the university. 

"We're doing world-class research that's having a worldwide impact. It's about the quality of the research, not the size of the institution," Thomas says.

Dr. Terrill also founded and coordinated and organization called the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRP). The program is also getting international recognition with seven members on the list of top researchers.

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