Several months ago, this blog brought attention to the fact that poultry science graduates have exceptional odds for job placement in the industry.
Officials at Southern Arkansas University (SAU) in Magnolia are evidently aware of that, as the university plans to bring back its defunct poultry studies program.
At the SAU Board of Trustees meeting on December 8, Dr. Trey Berry, the president of the university, announced that students there will again get the opportunity to pursue an education related to the poultry industry.
“We’re bringing poultry studies back to SAU,” Berry told the trustees, as the university will add a new Poultry Operations Education Facility.
“It will be a state-of-the-art chicken house, and students will learn the entire run of the poultry industry, from hatching to processing. There will not be anything like this in the region.”
According to the Magnolia Reporter, there will be “major financial partners” involved in the project, and Berry hopes to be able to announce who those partners are in early 2018.
With the revived program, Berry said the university will teach students “the entire run of the poultry industry, from hatching all the way through processing.”
Neither the reporter, nor a press release that gave an overview of the trustees’ meeting gave an estimated date regarding when the new facility would be built or when poultry related courses would begin.
A good fit
With Arkansas being the second largest broiler producing state, and other states in the region also strong in poultry production, it makes sense that more Arkansas universities would want to add poultry programs or expand its current poultry-related curriculum.
Not only is Arkansas the home state of a number of the businesses listed in the WATTAg Net Top Poulltry Companies Database like Tyson Foods, George’s, OK Foods, Simmons Foods and OMP Foods, there are other top companies headquartered in other states that have facilities in Arkansas.
There are also several expansion projects planned in the region. Simmons Foods has plans for a new plant in Benton County, while other expansion projects from other companies are taking place in bordering Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee.
Add that to the fact that University of Georgia Department of Poultry Science Program Coordinator Jessica Fife recently said its graduates have multiple job offers, it seems that SAU has made a great decision.