The US Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) has committed to paving the path towards ensuring future success for the poultry industry, and the work done through the USPOULTRY Harold E. Ford Foundation is continually making an significant impact on the industry. John Starkey, USPOULTRY President, sat down for an interview during the 2016 International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) to discuss the foundation’s current focuses, as well as the role IPPE is playing in the foundation’s mission.
The foundation has a dual focus: to advance industry research, and to aid in student recruiting. The poultry industry’s corporate partners have played a major role in helping the foundation get projects off the ground, having donated over 11 million dollars in research grants.
“The research has been focused on food safety and animal well-being, which are areas that we need to have information to be able to tell consumers about,” said Starkey. “I think its brought a new focus that we didn’t have before to direct funds to high-priority areas of the industry.”
The IPPE plays a major role in the foundation’s student recruiting efforts. Students interested in poultry industry careers are encouraged to attend the expo and welcomed for interviews on the trade show floor, and USPOULTRY has also brought several of the top teams from the FFA Poultry Career Development Programs to the expo for the past two years.
“We need young folks that are willing to come into our industry desperately, and agriculture is not always the sexiest industry to be in so we’re actively out there seeking students and spending money to find students, bring them into our industry, and to help them understand the career opportunities they have,” said Starkey. “It doesn’t matter what your major is, doesn’t matter what discipline you may want to go into, it doesn’t matter if you don’t want to get a four year degree, we have a place for you.”
Listen to Chuck’s full interview with John here:
Interview with John Starkey, USPOULTRY
Photos from IPPE: 2016 IPPE Photo Album