U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s (USPOULTRY) research program has passed a noteworthy milestone. Combined with the USPOULTRY Harold E. Ford Foundation (USPOULTRY Foundation), more than $30 million has been funded in research grants to meet the challenges facing the poultry and egg industry. Since the first $5,000 grant awarded in 1963 to Dr. Allen Edgar at Auburn University to study control measures for infectious bursal disease (Gumboro), USPOULTRY’s investment in research has been a significant factor in the growth and prosperity of the U.S. poultry industry.
The research program also continues to evolve. The Board Research Initiative was created in 2013 by the boards of both organization to address specific issues identified by the directors. It operates concurrently with the traditional research funding, referred to as the Comprehensive Research Program, in which proposals are submitted for funding consideration. Research topics for the Comprehensive Program are available on the USPOULTRY website, www.uspoultry.org. A third component is Emergency Research Funding, allocated when an exceptional need arises, such as the 2015-2016 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak.
Currently, funding for the Comprehensive Research program is appropriated in 19 topic areas at research institutions throughout the nation. The research encompasses all phases of poultry and egg production and processing and is updated every two years with input from the boards and other USPOULTRY committees. The current research priorities include animal welfare, broiler/turkey breeder management, broiler management, commercial egg production, diseases, employee safety and health, environmental management, feed mill operations, food safety, further processing, genetics, hatchery management, human nutrition, live haul, poultry nutrition, poultry housing, pullet management, breeder replacement management and processing.
“The Foundation Research Advisory Committee is the cornerstone of the research program. Committee members are specialists representing a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines and additionally have had extensive industry experience with a solid grasp on overall issues affecting the industry,” commented Jerry Moye, retired president, Cobb-Vantress, and USPOULTRY chairman. “They dedicate numerous hours to determine the relative value of competing research proposals before making recommendations to the board for funding. Their commitment and expertise make the program the most viable and extensive operational research effort in the poultry and egg industry.”
“Research is one of the four key missions of USPOULTRY’s service to the industry,” said John Starkey, USPOULTRY president. “Our Association and Foundation are committed to continue growing the research program and to addressing the needs of the poultry industry. We are pleased to have achieved $30 million in research funding, but even more pleased with the issues the program has addressed over the years.”
“For the last several years, about half of the research funding has come from revenue generated through the International Poultry Expo, part of the International Production & Processing Expo, and the remaining half from the Foundation. Our successful one time, capital campaign that concluded in 2015 really helped enable us to return to funding $1 million a year in research, which is one of the pledges we made to donors during the campaign,” remarked Paull Hill, West Liberty Foods, and USPOULTRY Foundation chairman. “We remain grateful to the many companies and individuals who contributed to the campaign, allowing the Foundation to raise almost $11 million. This has also given us the ability to establish the Emergency Research Program, which funded $550,000 in HPAI research in 2015 and just funded another $125,000 HPAI project as a follow-up.”
The USPOULTRY research program is under the direction of Dr. John Glisson, vice president of research. He can be reached at email@example.com.