- Animals: poultry
- Animal Production: feed/forage, housing, feed rations, free-range, manure management, preventive practices, watering systems
- Education and Training: decision support system, extension, networking, workshop
- Energy: energy conservation/efficiency
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, marketing management, e-commerce, market study, value added
- Natural Resources/Environment: wildlife
- Pest Management: chemical control, cultural control, disease vectors
- Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems
- Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life
In response to increasing consumer demand for local foods, many farm families have started or are very interested in integrating poultry enterprises in their operations to increase farm income. Poultry are efficient converters of feed to meat or eggs, do not require much space and fit nicely as a complementary enterprise on many types of farms.
Agricultural service providers within Extension were recently surveyed on the issue of poultry. Over 92% of the respondents felt they were not effectively serving poultry producers. Only one of the 40 respondents was confident in answering poultry related questions. At least 81% of the respondents were interested in gaining knowledge and skills in poultry science.
This project will directly involve a minimum of 20 agriculture service providers in New England and poultry producers in the region as a secondarily audience. These service providers will come from a range of backgrounds and experiences related to agriculture, technology, education and service. Each service provider will have a solid history of working directly with farmers. Participants will gain knowledge and skills in basic poultry science of egg production, meat production, nutrition, health, facilities, breed selection, biosecurity, processing, regulations, marketing, poultry business planning and management. The project will also focus on the development of poultry-related educational materials.
This project will involve an annual series of webinars and practical, hands-on training workshops.
At least 20 agricultural service providers in New England will provide technical assistance and economic and management advice to 100 farmers raising at total of approximately 50,000 poultry for meat or egg production, helping them enact management changes that improve production, poultry health, poultry nutrition, market development, sanitation and biosecurity, food safety, regulatory compliance, energy efficiency, and business management; these changes result in, on average, an additional $5,000 in income each year over the two-year period.
Performance targets from proposal:
30 agricultural service providers will complete an online pretest in applied poultry science as a benchmark from which to measure growth and change in knowledge and skill levels.
At least 20 agricultural service providers who participate in the project webinars, workshops, independent study and problem solving network will gain measurable knowledge and skills to assist sustainable poultry enterprises through efficient and well-designed educational programs.
At least 20 agricultural service providers will each design, adapt or create educational materials for poultry producers.
At least 20 agricultural service providers will learn about poultry anatomy by dissecting a chicken.
At least 20 agricultural service providers will actively participate in the poultry problem solving network to strengthen and apply their knowledge of poultry science.
Each agricultural service provider will work directly with five farmers per year with an existing or planned poultry enterprise. Participating farmers will be asked to provide production results and basic income statements via online reporting for the respective poultry enterprises to compare performance with similar enterprises. Case studies of participating farms will be assembled for educational purposes.
20 agricultural service providers in New England will provide technical assistance and economic and management advice to 100 farmers raising at total of approximately 50,000 poultry for meat or egg production, helping them enact management changes that improve production, poultry health, poultry nutrition, market development, sanitation and biosecurity, food safety, regulatory compliance, energy efficiency, and business management; these changes result in, on average, an additional $5,000 in income each year over the two-year period.