USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation are proud to recognize Dr. William Merka as the 2017 recipient of the annual Charles Beard Research Excellence Award. Dr. Merka is a professor emeritus in the Department of Poultry Science at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. The award is named in honor of Dr. Charles Beard, former director of the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory and former vice president of research at USPOULTRY.

Merka selected for his research on poultry processing wastewater

The USPOULTRY Foundation Research Advisory Committee selected Dr. Merka for this prestigious award based on his exceptional research on determining methods to screen, filter, recycle and safely discharge poultry processing wastewater. In addition, Dr. Merka’s research expanded the knowledge on how to effectively compost broiler litter and layer manure for land application. Dr. Merka served as primary investigator or co-investigator on 10 research grants funded by USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation. The results of his extensive research form a significant part of the basis for processing wastewater and poultry litter and manure management practices today and have had a positive economic impact on the poultry industry.

“The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association has been very supportive of our research program over the years, and I am extremely grateful for this support. Research on waste management is not often recognized for its importance, and I am gratified to see our work recognized with this award,” commented Dr. Merka.


“Dr. Merka’s research program is a great example of how USPOULTRY research funds can be directed toward important applied research to find solutions to current problems faced by the poultry industry. The quality of Dr. Merka’s research is outstanding, and the results have been used by the poultry industry to make improvements in several areas including poultry processing wastewater management and litter and manure management,” remarked Dr. John Glisson, vice president for research programs for USPOULTRY.

Dr. Merka received his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 1982. He served as an extension poultry scientist at the University of Maryland before joining the University of Georgia in 1985. During his tenure at the University of Georgia he maintained a 100 percent extension appointment while also managing an important applied research program. His career was defined by his sincere desire to help the U.S. poultry industry deal in environmentally responsible ways with waste related issues.

Charles Beard Research Excellence Award

The goal of the Charles Beard Research Excellence Award is to recognize outstanding completed research projects, funded by USPOULTRY or the USPOULTRY Foundation, which have made a significant positive impact on the poultry industry. As the recipient of the award, Dr. Merka received a $1,500 cash prize. The award was presented to him during the International Poultry Scientific Forum meeting by Dr. Glisson and Dr. Travis Cigainero, chairman of the Foundation Research Advisory Committee.