Ten University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff students of animal science recently traveled to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville Center of Excellence for Poultry Science.

They visited the center’s facilities, took part in hands-on poultry production exercises and interacted with professors.

Participants included undergraduate students Kelcie Wilmoth, Lizney Rudds, Mia Martin, Malcolm Jackson, Michaela Lewis, Laysea Odom, Shataria Evans, Zachary Montgomery and Crystal Spratt, and Lea Brewer, a graduate student of agricultural regulations with a focus in animal science.

Jayant Lohakare, associate professor of animal science at UAPB, and Emmanuel K. Asiamah, assistant professor of animal science, accompanied the students on the trip.

The students visited a hatchery and several poultry facilities at UAF. They learned about molecular biology, as well as poultry breeding and processing techniques.

“The purpose of the program was to get students familiar with the UAF Department of Poultry Science,” Lohakare said. “The participants were able to take part in various lab activities involving hatchery practices and farm management, artificial insemination in chickens and processing practices such as deboning. They seemed excited about an opportunity to learn through hands-on experience.”

The students received training in practices that are very similar to those that take place at commercial poultry production facilities, he said. Having this type of hands-on experience will help the students as they start to look for jobs in the industry.

At UAF, the students attended presentations on poultry science. They heard from Michael Kidd, director of the UAF Center of Excellence for Poultry Science and Department of Poultry Science, and Deacue Fields III, dean of the University of Arkansas’ Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.

During a luncheon, the students interacted with faculty members of the UAF Department of Poultry Science. Professors spoke to the students about graduate programs related to animal science at UAF.

Later, Walter Bottje, poultry scientist, spoke to the students about the 3 + 1 Program in Poultry Science. Established in 2013 between UAPB and UAF, the program now enables students to earn a bachelor’s degree in agriculture-poultry science from UAPB and a concurrent bachelor’s degree in agricultural, food and life sciences-poultry science from UAF.

Wilmoth said the poultry breeding and processing techniques she learned during the visit will be useful in her career.

“It’s always nice to learn new things that can possibly help me in future jobs,” she said. “The UAF faculty were very nice and informative. I also enjoyed touring the facilities.”

Jackson, who hopes to find a job in the poultry industry after graduation, said he appreciated the opportunity to network with UAF faculty.

“I actually want to attend graduate school for poultry science, so the visit was a great way to learn about the programs at UAF,” he said. “One of the key things I learned from conversations with faculty members was that poultry professionals are in high demand. More people are needed to fill the void as the industry continues to grow.”

— Will Hehemann is a writer/editor with the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences.