Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Continued research investment helps address poultry industry challenges

By John Starkey U.S. Poultry & Egg Association

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TUCKER, Ga. — Animal welfare issues, regulatory burdens, food safety concerns, the ongoing need for future leaders in our industry … all of these areas can be formidable when you consider the challenges confronting the poultry and egg industry.

However, our industry has confronted and overcome many related, difficult challenges throughout the years. In fact, as part of USPOULTRY’s 75th anniversary this year, I recently looked back at when some of our legacy programs were initiated, including our first research project funded at Auburn University on Gumboro disease in 1963. I found that the research program, while certainly revised, adjusted and updated, remains with us today as we continue to serve the entirety of the poultry industry.

Since the inception of our Comprehensive Research Program, USPOULTRY has reinvested $35-plus 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. Today, the Comprehensive Research Program is all-inclusive, incorporating all phases of poultry and egg production and processing. A committee of 15 dedicated, hardworking industry professionals review each and every proposal and recommend the best to the board for funding.

This reinforces another vital aspect of our 75-year history — willing volunteers assisting in accomplishing our mission.

In addition, the USPOULTRY Board Research Initiative was created several years ago 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 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 facing our industry and where USPOULTRY should focus its efforts, which includes the following areas:

  • Competitive Inhibition of Pathogenic Enterococcus Cecorum by Avirulent Strains.
  • Evaluation of Zero, Four- and Six-Hour Dark Periods During the First Seven Days on Broiler Performance and Welfare.
  • Development of Live Turkey Reovirus Vaccine for Protection from Antigenic Variant Viruses.
  • Evaluation of Egg Wash Sanitizers to Reduce Salmonella Contamination on and in Turkey Eggs.
  • Understanding the Influence of Branch Chain Amino Acid Interaction on Performance, Feather Quality, Egg Quality and mRNA Gene Expression of Peak and Post Peak Laying Hens.
  • Blood Chemistry Led Environment Manipulations to Reduce Poult Mortality.
  • Infectious Laryngotracheitis Virus (ILTV) Molecular Diagnostics Tools in Need of an Upgrade.
  • Development of Live Attenuated Vaccine for Reoviruses Causing Arthritis and Hepatitis in Turkeys.
  • Development of Vaccines for the Control of Chicken Spotty Liver Disease.
  • Detection and Control of Processing-Tolerant Campylobacter on Broiler Carcasses.
  • Developing a Multispecies Bacterial Vaccine for Protection Against Bacterial Chondronecrosis with Osteomyelitis Lameness for Broilers.
  • Assessing the Physiological Stressors Due to Injection of Nitrogen During Ventilation Shutdown Plus Heat for Depopulation of Laying Hens.

Our Board of Directors also approved funding for one Board Research Initiative research grant. The grant addresses the following current issue:

  • Risk Assessment Comparing Alternative Approaches to Regulating Salmonella in Poultry by Public Health Impact Factors

The poultry and egg industry has used research and science to help grow the sustainable and resourceful industry that we have become. Continued focus on these research topics, and other significant areas that may arise, will further guide our direction 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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