A group of students from the Iowa State Agriculture Entrepreneurship Initiative (AGEI) visited The Poultry Federation to hear President Marvin Childers speak about the value of the poultry industry. Childers spoke to the students about challenges the industry faces and the responsibility future generations will have on changing the way society views animal welfare, vaccines and antibiotics.

The topic of avian influenza and biosecurity were at the center of the students focus as it is an all too familiar experience for their home state in Iowa.

One of the students, Daniel Schouvieller, said, “It has been interesting to hear the perspective of growers who have experienced avian influenza and those that have not. The ones that have experienced AI are more inclined to make changes to heighten biosecurity, while those that have not experienced AI stick to how they have always done things.”

Childers said, “There is a cultural change that is going to have to take place in an effort to heighten biosecurity.”

The mission of the Iowa State Agriculture Entrepreneurship Initiative is to provide students with practical business development and entrepreneurial experiences essential for their success in future careers and endeavors. Through their Domestic Development & Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness (DDEA) course the students are developing a comprehensive market analysis on the impact the recent avian flu outbreak has had on Iowa’s layer, broiler, and turkey industries. “Hearing from experts in the industry has been vital in validating the research we have done thus far,” said Ellie Flickinger, student at Iowa State University.

Their week-long research tour started in Iowa and has included stops in Missouri at Simple Life Farms, Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Egg Council, and Cargill. Yesterday the students toured Tyson Foods headquarters in Springdale, AR then headed down to the University of Arkansas to visit Dr. Michael Kidd at the Poultry Science Department.  

After leaving The Poultry Federation the students are headed to the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission and will conclude their tour in Nashville, TN.

“This experience has helped us see that the poultry industry is an important part of the agriculture industry,” said Izak Christensen.