The University of North Georgia (UNG) recently received a $7,000 student recruiting grant from the U.S. Poultry Foundation and $3,000 from Pilgrim's to help support students interested in careers in the industry.
"The generous support of U.S. Poultry and Pilgrim’s-Gainesville division 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 and Mathematics.
Through this funding, UNG will increase the number of students enrolled in its poultry science courses. A total of eight students have earned associates degree with a focus on poultry science or avian biology from UNG since 2013. Another five students are scheduled to graduate in the spring.
An outreach event targeting middle and high school students in UNG's multi-county service area is planned for Jan. 23 by the Poultry Science Club.
"The event will offer hands-on practice to students plugged into Future Farmers of America (FFA) or 4H competitions in local schools," explained Linda Purvis, biology and poultry science lecturer at UNG and advisor of the Poultry Science Club. "We will be teaching portions of the event, spending some time giving students a tour of UNG, and hopefully recruiting them to our college in the future. Current UNG students will also speak and share about their experience here, as well as aim to inform students about career options in poultry science in the local area. We hope this will become an annual event."
Students that choose to take courses in poultry sciences at UNG can earn an associate of science degree with a focus on poultry science or avian biology. Students are then encouraged to enroll in a 4-year program that offers degrees in agriculture.
"In the past 3 years, UNG has received nearly $40,000 in grant money for poultry science. And the driving force in obtaining these grants is Linda Purvis," said Bodri. "She has played a vital role in promoting the poultry courses and poultry emphasis and works closely with the biology department in furthering these efforts."
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 U.S. Poultry Foundation represents the complete spectrum of today's poultry industry. The foundation strives to support the recruitment and training of poultry science students, fund scientific research, and promote careers in the poultry and egg industries. Founded in 1947, The U.S. Poultry and Egg Association is based in Tucker, Georgia
As the second-largest chicken producer in the world, Pilgrim's has the capacity to process more than 34 million birds per week for a total of more than 7 billion pounds of live chicken annually.