The first week of fall term was especially exciting for five Wallace Community College-Dothan, Ala., students who are enrolled in the inaugural Poultry Science Production course. Instead of an instructor in the classroom, the class received a real-time lecture via the internet from Dr. Walter Berry, Auburn University associate professor of poultry science.
The course is part of the 2+2 Poultry program between WCCD and Auburn. After completing their two years of studies at WCCD, which includes taking the AGP 130 Poultry Production course, students will be able to transfer to Auburn as juniors.
Poultry production is an in-demand field. According to the Alabama Poultry & Egg Association, 65 percent of annual farming revenues come from commercial poultry production. Poultry Science students can enjoy careers in poultry production, veterinary medicine, feed manufacturing, food science, nutrition, food safety, genetics, education–the list goes on. Of the students taking the course at WCCD, two intend to pursue poultry science and three are in pre-veterinary medicine. “There is a need for poultry veterinarians,” said association spokesperson Walter Carroll, who visited the class and discussed career options with the students. “Alabama is home to the largest breeding companies in the country.”
Poultry production is often a family business. Two WCCD students, John Stevens and Chase Adams, grew up on Alabama poultry farms, so their decision to major in poultry production was an easy one. Jessica Perry and Alexis Ellis will be transferring to Auburn to study veterinary medicine. Taylor Mock, who is from Jakin, Ga., and plays on the Lady Govs softball team, intends to transfer to University of Georgia to pursue her degree in veterinary medicine.
Auburn’s Poultry Science Department has 81 undergraduates; 57 percent are female and 46 percent are male. “Our enrollment has been steadily increasing, and we have seen an increase in the number of students who transfer from community colleges,” said Codi Plaster, Auburn poultry science department spokesperson. “The top job areas for our graduates include production (live side, plant, and quality assurance), graduate and professional programs, genetics and egg companies.”
WCCD will offer the Poultry Production AGP 130 course each fall as part of the Agriculture – Poultry Science 2+2 Option. Students interested in exploring careers in poultry production can go to www.poul.auburn.edu. For more information, go to www.wallace.edu.