The U.S. Poultry & Egg Assn. (USPOULTRY) and the USPOULTRY Foundation announced $200,000 in sponsorship funding for two poultry research projects to benefit the U.S. poultry industry.
The sponsorship is in partnership with the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) and will leverage research dollars for two projects that improve poultry welfare and efficiency, USPOULTRY said. The funds are being matched by FFAR for a total $400,000 investment.
The first research project, the SMART Broiler Research Initiative, is a collaborative research program supported by FFAR and McDonald’s that is developing automated broiler welfare monitoring technologies for commercial poultry farms. These technologies may also be applicable to the turkey industry. Existing methods for assessing animal welfare rely on human observation and subjective scoring.
This initiative is identifying automated solutions to provide objective and comprehensive information about poultry welfare across the supply chain, USPOULTRY said.
The second research project, the Egg-Tech Prize, is an initiative of FFAR and Open Philanthropy that is developing new technologies for accurate, high-speed and early-stage in ovo sex determination of layer chicks. Only female chicks are used for producing layer hens; male chicks do not lay eggs and are unsuitable for consumption.
The Egg-Tech Prize incentivizes companies and individuals to develop a technology that accurately determines the sex of an egg before it hatches and allow hatcheries to divert male eggs to the food or animal feed supply chains or use them in vaccine production, USPOULTRY said. This would solve the issue of male chick culling and improve the sustainability of egg production worldwide.
The six winners of the Egg-Tech Prize Phase I were announced by FFAR last November. The winner of the $4.5 million Egg-Tech Prize will be announced in 2021.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to actively collaborate with FFAR as a platinum sponsor for both of these projects. We anticipate that these innovative, unique and cutting-edge technologies will allow the poultry industry to further enhance producer viability, ensure animal well-being and meet the changing needs of the industry,” said John Prestage, Prestage Farms senior vice president and USPOULTRY chairman.
“The Egg-Tech Prize and SMART Broiler are both cutting-edge research initiatives that seek to address global animal welfare concerns and revolutionize on-farm practices while enhancing production,” FFAR executive director Dr. Sally Rockey said.