UGA Poultry Science Dept. creates high school curriculum, transfer pathway
Students interested in careers in the poultry industry will now have access to more poultry science-based resources and a new path to pursue an undergraduate degree through a transfer agreement between the University of Georgia and the University of North Georgia.
The opportunities for good-paying jobs in poultry and related industries are plentiful, with graduates receiving between one and five job offers, according to Todd Applegate, head of the UGA Department of Poultry Science in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
“We really need young people going into poultry across the entire sector. There’s a breadth of opportunity with integrated poultry companies and also other supporting companies such as finance, feed, equipment supply, pharmaceutical, food safety/quality and more. We try to communicate these options, as well as the available managerial roles and ability to move up in leadership through various companies,” he said.
With the high demand for graduates, the department is looking to improve visibility of the industry and pathways into the industry.
A new transfer agreement with UNG — with its main campus situated in Gainesville — builds on an existing partnership between the two universities and gives transfer students assurance that courses will transfer seamlessly.
In order to reach students before college, UGA’s Department of Poultry Science has also designed a new high school introductory course into poultry science and avian biology as part of
the Georgia Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Pathways. The purpose is to establish an in-depth understanding and appreciation of Georgia’s top agricultural industry among high school students.
Approximately 168,000 jobs are connected directly or indirectly to the poultry industry in Georgia, and producers in 101 counties generate more than $1 million worth of poultry at the farm level according to UGA research.
The high school presentations and activities introduce students to terminology and basic knowledge of modern poultry science and the commercial poultry sector, including anatomy and physiology, reproduction, genetics, nutrition, conventional and alternative housing/production methods, poultry varieties, avian health, processing, marketing and more.
“There are so many applications of STEM in the poultry industry, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. For students looking for real-world applications, I think they need those real-world applications much earlier to think about their careers. As we go into technology applications, this next generation is ready for that,” said Applegate.
Another set of lessons and activities developed by the department is geared toward elementary-aged students in partnership with Georgia Farm Bureau to use in elementary classrooms. They will be distributed to all of Farm Bureau’s 10 districts through the organization’s Ag in the Classroom and new Georgia Ag Experience mobile classroom.