In late 2007 the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association created the Poultry & Egg Institute to build upon the association’s existing education programs. USPOULTRY’s educational programs began in 1956 with an Egg Quality and Grading School and continue today with seminars covering all aspects of the industry. The seminars address topics ranging from environmental management to live production and processing issues to financial management.

In 2009 the USPOULTRY board of directors reaffirmed education and student outreach as two key priorities of our strategic plan, and the Institute’s recent activities support those association goals. Through the Institute we continue our support of the National FFA Organization and the 4-H Poultry and Egg Convention. At the October 2009 FFA Convention in Indianapolis USPOULTRY sponsored an exhibit booth in the Career Fair and introduced a new video, “Your Future Is NOW- Careers in the Poultry and Egg Industries,” highlighting the many job opportunities in the industry. Over 1000 copies of the DVD have been distributed to students, universities, and industry HR departments to use for recruitment purposes.

Partnerships and coordination

Held in conjunction with the International Poultry Expo, the College Student Career Program brings in over 300 college students each year to interview with industry and allied firms. This year’s keynote speaker, Dan Cathy, President and COO of Chick-fil-A, inspired the students with a message addressing the excitement of transitioning “From Academics to Industry.”

This year the Poultry & Egg Institute is partnering with the California Poultry Federation, Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo and Fresno State University to develop a 10-part curriculum for high school ag teachers covering many aspects of poultry production. It includes Animal Welfare, Poultry Biology & Physiology, Live Production, Food Safety & Regulations, and Biosecurity. The goal is to provide a valuable resource to ag teachers throughout the country and to encourage bright students to seek careers in the poultry and egg industry.

Coordination of industry programs with other industry associations is critical to provide a strong unified voice for the industry and to effectively utilize industry and association resources. To this end, USPOULTRY joined forces with the National Turkey Federation and National Chicken Council to establish a Joint Industry Safety & Health Council and a Joint Industry Human Resources Council. Comprised of senior industry leaders in both disciplines, the councils address industry-wide concerns to improve both safety and health and human resources programs. The Safety & Health Council guided the establishment of an industry-wide safety award program beginning in 2010 and identified several training programs needs for the industry.

In response to the Safety & Health Council requests, the Poultry & Egg Institute led the development of industry-specific training programs teaching the value of proper accident investigation techniques and effective machine guarding. These programs were distributed industry-wide and are available at no charge to association members.

Newsletter for safety

The Institute issues a free weekly electronic newsletter, People Matters, to keep subscribers up-to-date on current HR, risk management and safety issues impacting the industry. Interested persons can subscribe to People Matters and order a variety of training programs on the Institute’s Web site.

For 2010, the Institute will continue to expand its educational support for the industry. The entire staff of USPOULTRY is committed to supporting the poultry and egg industry through technical services, research and education. Please feel free to give us your ideas, opinions and feedback on how we can improve our service.