Delmarva Poultry University-Industry Partnership Committee holds second, bi-annual summit

Banner reading Delmarva Poultry University-Industry Partnership SummitThe Delmarva Poultry University-Industry Partnership Committee held a day-long summit at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury, MD. The day consisted of discussion on current poultry industry issues, information exchange, lightning presentations, and networking.

“This was the second time we’ve met in two years to present research results and discuss important ideas for future research,” said College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Dean Mark Rieger. “The poultry industry is changing rapidly and we need to continue this valuable dialogue.”

Mark Parcells holds the microphone while asking a question.
Department of Animal and Food Sciences’ Mark Parcells (standing) and Aditya Dutta (sitting)

The audience was comprised of more than 120 representatives from universities, the private sector, NGOs, and federal and state agencies. Jack Shere, the Chief Veterinary Officer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided the keynote speech.

“We recognize the need to improve communications between the Delmarva Poultry Industry and academic researchers at universities in the region,” said University of Delaware Professor Calvin Keeler, chair of the Delmarva Poultry University-Industry Partnership Committee (DPU-IPC). “Our goal is to better understand the needs of the poultry industry and to mobilize the talent to address those concerns.”

Along with research presentations and networking, other summit highlights included:

  • A panel of poultry industry representatives led an open discussion of the research needs of the industry.
  • A panel of state agency representatives discussed avian flu responses.
  • Attendees reviewed state legislative initiatives that relate to the poultry industry.

“The summit provided a great platform for developing industry, government and university research and extension communication. Industry representatives spelled out where university partnerships were needed, welcome and encouraged,” explained Professor Mark Parcells. “My hope is that the momentum established by this meeting is maintained and yields long-term research and educational relationships.”

Conference attendees sit around a table to talk.
Dean Mark Rieger chats with summit’s attendees.

2019 marked the second, bi-annual gathering and built on the momentum of the 2017 edition, which resulted in the creation of the partnership committee and supported collaboration to advance the growth and sustainability of the poultry industry in the region.

“The key takeaway was improving communications and collaborations among industry, allied industries and government,” noted UD senior instructor Bob Alphin. “As several speakers mentioned, these relations are very important, but do require time, effort and in-person contact to stay fruitful over time.”

Following the summit, the committee will survey attendees and discuss the utility of future meetings. DPU-IPC will focus on the development of educational and training programs for employees in the industry, facilitating exchange programs between the poultry industry and academia, and continuing to identify subject experts.

Research presented

Alphin co-authored two different posters presented at the summit. The first covered three different international training programs. Alphin, Professor Eric Benson and Research Associate Dan Hougentogler run two programs on avian influenza outbreak response, its control and trade; a third program headed by Senior Scientist Brian Ladman is on veterinary diagnostic laboratory quality assurance to help other countries have their labs certify. Alphin, Benson and Hougentogler also showcased a poster on testing a low cost, undercarriage spray rig for decontaminating vehicles coming onto and leaving poultry farms, helping poultry farmers to increase their biosecurity at an affordable cost.

Conference attendees stand in the exhibitor area to talk.
Delmarva Poultry Industry Executive Director Holly Porter (left) meets with attendees.

Members of the Delmarva Poultry University-Industry Partnership Committee

  • Delaware Department of Agriculture
  • Maryland Department of Agriculture
  • Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.
  • Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology, Inc.
  • National Chicken Council
  • University of Delaware
  • Delaware State University
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University of Maryland Eastern Shore
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Photo credit

Samantha Watters, University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources


Dante LaPenta