John Starkey

John Starkey

By John Starkey

Special to Poultry Times

TUCKER, Ga. — Animal Welfare Issues, regulatory burdens, food safety concerns, animal welfare issues, the need for more young leaders in our industry . . .When you consider the challenges facing our industry, the list of topics can be daunting.

However, our industry has addressed and overcome many similar, formidable challenges throughout the years. So, the question with which we are faced as an association is: Which of these challenges can U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) best address through its mission areas?

Research has long been a cornerstone of our efforts. Since the inception of our research program, USPOULTRY has reinvested more than $32 million dollars into the industry in the form of research grants. More than 50 universities and federal and state facilities have received grants over the years.

Our Comprehensive Research Program dates to the early 1960s when funds were first approved for poultry disease research. It gradually grew into an all-inclusive program incorporating all phases of poultry and egg production and processing.

A few years ago, the USPOULTRY Board Research Initiative was created by the boards of USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation to address current issues facing the poultry industry. The USPOULTRY Board Research Initiative operates alongside the current USPOULTRY Comprehensive Research Program and augments the great success of the existing program by focusing additional resources toward defined areas of research.

This year, our Board of Directors, a group of 27 dedicated volunteers across the broiler, turkey and egg industries, approved 12 research grants through the Comprehensive Research Program.

The board’s selection process provides an industry outlook on major challenges before our industry and where USPOULTRY should focus its efforts and includes the following areas:

  1. Fate and Effect of Commercial Peracetic Acid Solutions in Poultry Processing Waste Water Biological Treatment Processes
  2. Effect of Protease Enzyme on Corn and Soybean Meal-Based Laying Hen Diet to Reduce Feed Cost, Improve Egg Quality and Egg Solids in Post-Peak and Late Lay
  3. Evaluating the Impact of Ventilation Shutdown for Depopulation of Broiler Breeders During a Foreign Animal Disease Outbreak
  4. Cage-Free Pullet Density: Production and Welfare Outcomes
  5. Feed Additive for Reducing Incidence of Wooden Breast Disease in Commercial Broiler Chickens
  6. Evaluation of a Drinker System with or without Trays on House Litter Conditions, Bird Performance, Health and Welfare
  7. A Novel Method for Enumeration and Speciation of Eimeria Species of Coccidian Protozoa by Flow Cytometry
  8. Longitudinal Assessment of Skeletal and Cardiac Structures in Broilers Reared Under Slow Versus Fast Growth Rate Regimen and Its Relation to Manifestation of Lameness, Ascites and Woody Breast Condition
  9. Genetic Identification and Screening for Potent Anti-Salmonella Gut Peptide Variant in Chicken: Avian Defensin, Beta Defensin 1 (AvBD1)
  10. Fate and Effect of Peracetic Acid Solutions in Poultry Processing Biological Nitrogen Removal and Anaerobic Treatment Processes
  11. Profiling Salmonella Serotypes Through Processing
  12. Whole Genome Sequencing and Molecular Analysis of Infectious Bronchitis Virus DMV1639 Strains Circulating in the Field

Our Board of Directors also approved funding for two Board Research Initiative research grants. These grants address the following current issues.

  • Avian Evaluation of Welfare, Behavior and Health as Affected by Growth Rate of Broiler Chickens
  • Investigation into the Cause and Prevention of False Layer Syndrome

The poultry and egg industry have used research and science to help develop the efficient and sustainable industry that we have become. Continued focus on these research topics, and other critical areas that may arise, will continue to keep us on the same road into the future.

John Starkey, P.E., is president of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association with offices in Tucker, Ga.

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