Middle and high school students learn about poultry science

In February, 50 local students ranging from fifth-12th grade explored career opportunities in poultry science on UNG’s Gainesville Campus. Hosted by the university’s Poultry Science Club, the event — dubbed Poultry 101 — also covered topics such as poultry judging for competitions, which includes processes such as candling and egg grading.

Students also toured the campus, learned about preparations for college, and heard about career options from UNG faculty, staff and students.

The outreach was supported by a $7,000 student education and recruiting grant from the U.S. Poultry Foundation and donations from Cobb, Pilgrims, Wayne Farms and Cal-Maine.

“Poultry 101 is something we want to begin offering annually,” said Linda Purvis, biology and poultry science lecturer at UNG and advisor of the Poultry Science Club. “This offers hands-on practice to students plugged into Future Farmers of America or 4H competitions in local schools and hopefully helps recruit them to our institution in the future.”

The poultry processing industry employs approximately 7,600 workers in Hall County, and according to a 2011 University of Georgia report, poultry comprises about 47 percent of Georgia’s agricultural industry. This breaks down to about 140,000 jobs in Georgia and $38 billion toward the state’s economy.

As a result, a large number of poultry and poultry-related industries are seeking individuals with poultry science degrees to further the advancement of the industry.

“The generous support of U.S. Poultry and local donors will allow us to continue to recruit and obtain exceptional students and position them to drive the industry forward in the future,” said Dr. Michael Bodri, dean of UNG’s College of Science & Mathematics.