As the faculty and students in the University of Georgia (UGA) Department of Poultry Science approach this season of gratitude, they are thankful for the partnerships that have helped make the UGA Department of Poultry Science one of the best poultry science programs in the nation. Chief among these partnerships is the long-term relationship between the UGA Department of Poultry Science and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) and the U.S Poultry & Egg Harold E. Ford Foundation (USPOULTRY Foundation).

“What makes our support possible is the support of so many exhibitors at the International Production & Processing Expo, our members who patronize these exhibitors and contributors to our $11 million Foundation capital campaign several years ago. So, we are grateful for the support we’ve received that, in turn, has enabled us to fund critical research and recruit students not just at UGA, but at universities from coast to coast,” commented USPOULTRY President John Starkey.

For decades USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation have provided critical support to the UGA Department of Poultry Science in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. This funding has been crucial for research and student recruitment. Since 1993, more than $6,164,000 has been provided in research funding to UGA, with another $396,340 provided for student recruitment since 1994. Combined, these contributions have allowed the UGA Department of Poultry Science to both recruit students and conduct research that has helped the department grow its impact on students and on the poultry industry.

“Many factors have contributed to the success of the U.S. poultry industry. Among the most important of those factors has been the ability of the poultry industry to apply and adapt the findings of research conducted at universities, such as UGA. Funded research has shown to repeatedly provide breakthroughs and advances related to some of the most crucial issues and needs within the poultry industry,” remarked Dr. Denise Heard, director of research programs for USPOULTRY.

USPOULTRY’s research program, combined with the USPOULTRY Foundation, has funded more than $32 million in research grants to various colleges and institutions to meet the challenges facing the poultry and egg industry.

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“Research funding from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association has been instrumental for our poultry faculty to address critical, problem-based issues faced by the poultry sector,” said Todd Applegate, professor and department head of the UGA Department of Poultry Science. “The range of projects addressed often would go unfunded by other sources but are critical to the lives and livelihoods of the poultry producers and poultry processors and those in the communities to which they operate.”

For instance, funding from USPOULTRY has been vital to fighting diseases that, left unchecked, could damage the poultry industry or sicken the public.

“Typically, disease outbreaks occur without warning, creating a critical need to respond with targeted applied research studies to answer key questions that can potentially prevent large economic losses to the poultry industry,” said professor Mark Jackwood, head of the Department of Population Health and J.R. Glisson Professor of Avian Medicine at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. “Often the roadblock to conducting timely research on current industry problems is securing funding. Funding from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association for projects at the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center has led to new more specific and rapid diagnostic tests targeting emerging disease agents, as well as studies on vaccine efficacy and the development of new vaccines against economically important diseases.”

In addition, USPOULTRY established the USPOULTRY Foundation in 1994 to provide student recruiting funds to universities with poultry science departments. In 2004, the foundation launched its Industry Education Recruitment Funding Program so other colleges and universities that offer industry-related studies are eligible to apply for recruiting grants. The foundation’s mission is to support the recruitment and training of the brightest students, seek and fund scientific research, foster student scientists and promote careers in the poultry and egg industry.