Faculty Profiles

INTRODUCTION

After the Poultry Summit held in 2017 at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a University-Industry Partnership Committee was formed.  The mission of the committee is to develop a coordinated approach within our Universities’ research, teaching and extension programs as well as the public and private sectors to identify priorities and needs of the poultry industry and facilitate approaches to address those needs.  Our vision is to create a strong, ongoing collaboration that engages all partners and stakeholders in ensuring a healthy poultry industry in the region.  In line with that mission, the committee requested updates from its constituents on their recent activities.  The following reports provide a summary of activities related to the poultry industry.  It is our hope that this consolidated report will foster further collaborations.

Faculty Profiles

Poultry Health

Robert Alphin- ralphin@udel.edu, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Delaware

Dr. Alphin is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences and Manager of the Charles C. Allen Biotechnology Laboratory. His research and outreach efforts concentrates on a range of applied poultry problems, primarily poultry health issues focusing on poultry disease (e.g. avian influenza) outbreak response. This research includes depopulation, disposal and decontamination. His current research in this area includes developing different methods of foam depopulation and evaluating different post- avian influenza outbreak decontamination procedures including heat treatment.  Currently, his group is also evaluating the effectiveness of a low cost portable vehicle undercarriage decontamination system for poultry farmers. 

Ryan Arsenault- rja@udel.edu, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Delaware

Dr. Arsenault is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at the University of Delaware. Dr. Arsenault’s current research centers on kinomics and the gut health of poultry, and includes the topics of immunometabolism, host-pathogen interactions, feed additives and antibiotic alternatives. Current research projects include host-pathogen interactions of Salmonella, Coccidiosis, and Necrotic Enteritis in broiler chickens, gastrointestinal immune development in broiler chickens, and immunometabolic responses to avian influenza in wild ducks. His teaching includes a graduate-level class on the microbiome and gut health, and an undergraduate class on One Health.   

Rami Dalloul- dalloul@vt.edu, Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences,College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Dr. Dalloul is a Professor of Poultry Immunology and Health in the Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg campus.  His research goals are directed toward better characterizing the host-pathogen interactions in the context of host immunity and resistance to pathogens, with emphasis on poultry gastrointestinal immunity and overall health. Also of particular interest is the stimulation of avian mucosal immunity and investigating the underlying mechanisms of local immune responses to dietary and environmental stimuli.  Other Calvin Keeler- ckeeler@udel.edu,  Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Delaware

Dr. Keeler is a Professor of Molecular Biology in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences and Director of the Avian Biosciences Center at the University of Delaware. In the area of avian viral pathogenomics his research efforts are directed towards understanding the molecular ecology of infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) with the goal of identifying novel live attenuated vaccine strains of the virus. Another research focus is the avian innate immune response, with emphasis being given to characterizing differences in the regulation of the inflammatory response between ducks and chickens using avian influenza virus as a model.  Of particular interest is the characterization of the avian respiratory microbiome (bacterial, viral, and fungal) in order to better understand the microbial interactions responsible for avian respiratory disease complex (RDC).

 

Sunil Khattar- skhattar@umd.edu,  Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Maryland

Dr. Khattar in the department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Maryland has been working on development of Newcastle disease virus (avian paramyxovirus serotype 1) and other avian paramyxovirus serotypes 2-9 as a vaccine vector to control infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) infection in chickens. Delmarva region has a large number of commercial poultry farms and private backyard poultry producers. The large poultry population is under threat from IBV.

IBV is the primary cause of morbidity and mortality in the poultry. There are multiple variants

(antigenic and genotypic types) of IBV such as Arkansas (Ark), Connecticut (Conn), Delaware (Del), Georgia 98 (GA98), Georgia 08 (GA08) and Georgia 13 (Ga13) in the USA. These variants do not cross protect and new types of the virus continue to arise due to mutation and recombination in the viral genome. Inactivated and live attenuated vaccines have been frequently used in poultry to control IB. However, these vaccines cannot completely control the outbreaks. 

Another major limitation of these vaccines is that the vaccinated birds cannot be differentiated serologically from naturally infected birds. To overcome these limitations, we are developing recombinant Newcastle disease virus and other recombinant avian paramyxoviruses expressing immunogenic S protein of IBV to control IB.

 

Shin-Hee Kim- shinkim@umd.edu,Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Maryland

Dr. Kim in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Maryland has been working on a novel vaccination approach against avian influenza virus. Her research emphasizes on developing efficient and cost-effective live attenuated vectored vaccines that can provide an early and a long-lasting immunity in commercial poultry. Her laboratory has shown that induction of early immunity in poultry by overcoming maternal antibodies to a vaccine vector is critical for efficient protection of poultry in the field.

 

Brian Ladman- bladman@udel.edu,  Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Delaware

Dr. Ladman is a Senior Scientist in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at the

University of Delaware. He helps lead the University of Delaware Poultry Health System (UDPHS) which provides diagnostic testing and technical assistance to poultry integrators, growers, veterinarians and members of allied industries around the world.  This work often leads to research projects to develop or improve diagnostic tools for avian pathogens as well as develop and/or evaluate avian vaccines and vaccination programs for such pathogens like AIV, IBV, IBDV, ILTV, and NDV. Recent projects include: development and evaluation of an emergency vaccine to protect against a novel strain of IBV, evaluation of feed supplements to improve avian gut health, evaluation of international IBV and IBDV vaccines, and evaluation of avian influenza vaccines held in the National Stockpile. To support these efforts of the UDPHS, Dr. Ladman has become an expert in USDA/CDC Select Agent regulations, Biosafety level 3 laboratory management and ISO17025 accreditation.  

 

Xiang-Jin- Meng- xjmeng@vt.edu, VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM), Blacksburg, VA

Dr. Meng is a university distinguished Professor of Molecular Virology at the VMCVM in Blacksburg, Virginia. He is conducting research on emerging, re-emerging and zoonotic viruses that are of human and veterinary public health importance and in the discovery of swine and avian hepatitis E viruses.

 

Mark Parcells- parcells@udel.edu, Departments of Animal and Food Sciences and Biological Sciences, University of Delaware

 Dr. Parcells is a Professor of Molecular Virology in the Departments of Animal and Food Sciences and Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware. The major focus of Dr. Parcells' research is Marek's disease virus (MDV).  MDV-associated basic projects are focused on the molecular basis of pathogenicity, oncogenicity, the evolution of MDV virulence, and vaccineinduced protection. Dr. Parcells has identified some key genetic differences in MDV strains of differing virulence levels and is focused on the mechanisms by which these changes have been selected and how they relate to immune suppression. Another major focus of the Parcells lab is the innate sensing of viral infection and the induction of of appropriate acquired immune responses to vaccination. Dr. Parcells collaborates with several other faculty on campus and provides reagents and expertise for the study of Zika virus, Legionella, and foodborne pathogens. Dr. Parcells conducts applied research in the study of new vaccines for MDV and antibiotic-replacement strategies for poultry.

 

F. William Pierson- pierson@vt.edu, VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM), Blacksburg, VA

Dr. Pierson Professor of Poultry Health and Biosecurity and Infection Control at the VMCVM in Blacksburg, Virginia is conducting research on biosecurity/biothreats/agroterrorism risk reduction (agriculture vulnerability assessment and mitigation), hemorrhagic enteritis virus of turkeys (Siadenovirus), multifactorial production diseases of poultry (colibacilliosis, ornithobacteriosis, clostridial dermatitis of turkeys, cochlosomiasis, big liver / big spleen disease of chickens caused by Hepatitis E virus), and farm-side, pre-harvest detection (isothermal PCR) and bioremediation of Salmonella.

 

 Siba Samal- ssamal@umd.edu, Department of Veterinary Medicine,University of Maryland

Dr. Samal Professor of Virology in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Maryland is working on the identification of molecular determinants of paramyxovirus virulence, the development of safe and effective vaccines against infectious bronchitis, infectious bursal disease, and infectious laryngotracheitis, the molecular characterization of new and emerging avian paramyxoviruses, and the development of safe and effective vaccines against avian paramyxoviruses using a reverse genetics system.

 

Nammalwar Sriranganathan- nathans@vt.edu, VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM), Blacksburg, VA

Dr. Srirangnathan Professor of Bacteriology at the VMCVM in Blacksburg, Virginia is conducting research on targeted drug delivery for intracellular pathogens (designing and developing novel nanoparticle based drugs by incorporating biological, engineering and chemical manufacturing principles for therapeutic application of chronic infectious diseases i.e., tuberculosis, brucellosis and salmonellosis), development of vaccines against bioterrorism agents (understanding the host-parasite relationships, pathogenesis, virulence and their applications in vaccine development), and bacteriophage based remediation of foodborne Salmonella in poultry.

 

Xiaoping Zhu- xzhu1@umd.edu, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Maryland

Dr. Zhu department chair of Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Maryland is working on the identification of new mechanisms of immune regulation on mucosal infections and inflammations at the molecular and cellular immunology level, how the mucosal immune system distinguishes pathogenic from non-pathogenic microbes, how pathogens evade innate and adaptive immunity, and on harnessing innate and adaptive immunity for mucosal vaccine development and immunotherapy.

 

Processing and food safety

Joseph Eifert- jeifert@vt.edu, Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Dr. Eifert is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Food Science

& Technology with joint appointment in the Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences at Virginia Tech.  His research focuses on developing methods to prevent bacterial foodborne pathogens from contaminating poultry processing plant environments and reducing the level of these pathogens on live birds and finished products.  His program also aims at optimizing the quantitative recovery of pathogenic microorganisms from foods, food contact surfaces, and food processing environments.

 

Byungrok Min- bmin@umes.edu, University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Dr. Min is conducting research focused on improving the quality of chicken breast meat by elucidating the mechanisms involved in the impact of the long-term and short-term high environmental temperature and by developing practical strategies to prevent or mitigate heat stress-induced oxidative stress in live birds and chicken breast meat.  

 

Salina Parveen- sparveen@umes.edu, University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Dr. Parveen is a professor in Food Science and Technology Program at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Her research interests are ecology, antimicrobial resistance, genetic diversity and pathogenicity of bacteria associated with poultry. Currently, Dr. Parveen is working on the prevalence, antimicrobial resistance and control of Salmonella in chicken.

Environment

Arthur Allen- alallen@umes.edu, University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Dr.  Allen is working on a study that involves the removal of excess phosphorus build-up in soils due to long-term poultry litter applications.  Specific project objectives relative to the poultry industry include the calculating soil P that was removed using different varieties of biomass sorghum at different densities, and determining the effects on lowering soluble P levels in gypsum amended and non-amended soil in concert with various biomass sorghum varieties.

 

Stephanie Lansing-    slansing@umd.edu, Department of Environmental Science and Technology, University of Maryland

Dr. Lansing in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland has been working on monitoring biogas production, nutrient extraction and sustainability at a poultry litter-on anaerobic digestion (AD) built by Planet Found Energy Development, Inc. The monitoring will help determine the ability of poultry litter to be used as a renewable energy source through AD. Efforts are being made to determine the effectiveness of the technology in reducing the cradle to grave environmental impacts and help track changes in greenhouse gas emissions, eutrophication potential, adverse effects to human health and ecosystem biota from poultry litter

Dr. Lansing has been investigating the efficacy of transforming poultry litter into renewable energy and biochar through poultry litter gasification. Efforts are underway to determine the efficiency of gasification of poultry litter for reducing nutrient flow to the Chesapeake Bay and producing electricity via a syngas driven generator

Engineering and Technology

Stephanie Lansing- slansing@umd.edu,  Department of Environmental Science and Technology, University of Maryland

Dr. Lansing has been working on monitoring combustion of poultry litter in a full-scale fluidized bed combustor built by BHSL. This technology aims to reduce nutrient runoff, create electricity for the grid, provide direct thermal energy for heating poultry houses (which reduces propane use and could influence bird welfare) and create an ash to be used as a soil amendment. Efforts are underway to analyze the poultry litter influent, ash output, bird weight, bird feed and water use, energy production (thermal and electrical), energy use, and air quality to determine overall system sustainability of this technology.

Dr. Lansing has been working on removing and capturing/concentrating ammonia from pilotscale poultry litter anaerobic digestion effluent. Removing nutrients results in easier transportation to the field or off-farm and allows digester effluent to be reused for dilution of poultry litter prior to AD (reducing the amount of water needed for the AD process). Efforts are being made to understand the effectiveness of ammonia stripping and capture from poultry litter effluent and the effects of this technology on poultry litter transportation of nutrients within the manure matrix.

Business and Economics

Paul Goeringer- lgoering@umd.edu,Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics , University of Maryland

Dr. Goeringer and  Dr. Kelly Nuckolls in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Maryland and with the University of Maryland’s Agriculture Law Education Initiative have worked on providing resources to poultry growers covering required emissions reporting under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act.  This reporting requirement would have impacted all ammonia emissions from poultry farms, but recently Congress created an agricultural exemption for emissions.

Dr. Goeringer has provided workshops for Maryland poultry growers on common labor issues associated with hiring and dismissal of employees.  Goeringer is currently working on developing a labor guide to provide growers with assistance in common issues related to the hiring process.

Dr. Goeringer has worked with Dr. Jon Moyle in University of Maryland Extension to develop resources to help poultry growers understand the legal implications of not following biosecurity practices to prevent the spread of diseases (such as high-path avian influenza).  The resources reviewed previous court decisions to show growers that they could face legal liability for allowing the spread of a disease.

 

Stephanie Lansing- slansing@umd.edu,Department of Environmental Science and Technology,  University of Maryland

Dr. Lansing in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland is working on determining the most effective concentration of nanoparticles (NPs) additives for increasing biogas production and reducing hydraulic retention time (HRT) during anaerobic digestion of poultry manure. Efforts are underway to determine the best concentration of NPs for anaerobic digestion, to assess the risk of using the bio-slurry for growing crops based on degradation during digestion and subsequent crop uptake, and to conduct an economic analysis using a discounted cash flow (DCF) approach for a full-scale poultry litter digester using NPs.

Live production

Robert Alphin  ralphin@udel.edu,  Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Delaware

Dr.  Alphin is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences and Manager of the Charles C. Allen Biotechnology Laboratory. His research focus is on evaluating alternative lighting technologies centered on testing commercially available LED and similar lamps for poultry production to improve performance, reduce energy costs and improve sustainability.  

 

Roselina Angel- rangel@umd.edu, Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, University of Maryland 

Dr. Angel in the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences at the University of Maryland has been working on maximizing phosphorus utilization from poultry diets.  This work focuses on developing a calcium digestibility tool for limestones as well as generating calcium digestibility matrix values for ingredients.  Also, her research group is generating a tool to determine digestible calcium and digestible phosphorus recommendations that integrators can use to determine diet concentration needs when production goals (whole bird or parts, small or medium or large bird) differ. Increased phosphorus digestibility, of up to 0.1% digestible phosphorus, has been documented simply by making a better choice with limestones used. Her group is also working  on protease strategies to aid with poorly processed soybean meals.

 

Rami Dalloul- rdalloul@vt.edu, Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Dr. Dalloul is a Professor of Poultry Immunology and Health in the Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg campus.  One of his research focus areas is early stimulation of development and growth of the chicken embryo.  This is achieved through administration of probiotics and nutrients at embryonic day 18-19, and assessing post-hatch performance and immune competence in response to specific challenges.  Another critical area of research is mitigating the effects of heat stress using nutrients and feed additives that reduce oxidative stress particularly during late stage grow-out of broilers.

 

Leonie Jacobs- jacobsl@vt.edu, Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Dr. Jacobs is an Assistant Professor of Poultry Welfare in the Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences at Virginia Tech.  Her research focuses on 3 general areas of poultry welfare: 1) Preslaughter welfare and killing in terms of welfare assessments, catching procedure and effective training, feed withdrawal, and humane stunning and killing techniques; 2) Virginia and USspecific welfare issues including the use of automatically collected data as a tool for welfare assessment and improvement, alternative production and welfare implications, and sustainable production by reducing mortality; and 3) Positive welfare pertaining to welfare assurance schemes, broiler breeder welfare improvements, early feeding in day-old chicks, indicators of positive welfare/ emotional state, and on-farm environmental enrichment for commercial application.

 

Michael Persia- mpersia@vt.edu, Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Dr. Persia is an Associate Professor in the Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences at Virginia Tech.  His research focuses on increasing the efficiency of poultry (meat and egg) production through the characterization, understanding and manipulation of bird digestive processes.  This aim is accomplished by generating a better understanding of the nutrient requirements and costs of maintaining healthy gastrointestinal structure and function, and by quantifying the effects of various dietary treatments on nutrient utilization and overall bird performance.

 

            

Tom Porter- teporter@umd.edu, Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, University of Maryland  

Dr. Porter in the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences at the University of Maryland has been working on management approaches to minimize the effects of heat stress on broiler growth and mortality.  Increasing the brooding temperature at 3 days of age to 100° for 24 hours can improve performance and decrease mortality under heat stress conditions as the birds approach market weight.  Efforts are underway to optimize the protocol and understand how this early life conditioning improves performance later on.

 

Jennifer Timmons- jtimmons@umes.edu, University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Dr.  Timmons and her team are currently evaluating a Zinc supplement used in broiler diets and are planning a study to evaluate an alternative litter amendment for ammonia control.  Along with ammonia control and litter management, her research interests are centered on dietary strategies to address environmental issues and energy usage.

Outreach and education

Robert Alphin- ralphin@udel.edu, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Delaware

Dr. Alphin is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences and Manager of the Charles C. Allen Biotechnology Laboratory. He continues to collaborate with the USDA to offer several international training programs on poultry disease outbreak response/management and regionalization.

 

Jonathan Moyle- jmoyle@umd.edu, Lower Eastern Shore Research and Education Center (LESREC), University of Maryland  

Dr. Moyle works on outreach to growers to help improve farm management and comply with regulations. He is also working on ways to improve housing efficiency, including cleaning heater tubes to improve heat output.

 

Valerie Ragan- vragan@vt.edu,  VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM), Blacksburg, VA

Dr. Ragan, Associate is Professor of Practice and Director of the Center for Public and Corporate

Veterinary Medicine at the VMCVM in Blacksburg, Virginia. Dr.Ragan oversees programs involving the training veterinary students and graduate veterinarians for careers outside of traditional private clinical practice.

 

Nathaniel Tablante- nlt@umd.edu, University of Maryland

Dr. Tabalante Professor and Extension Poultry Veterinarian in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Maryland is developing effective education and outreach programs on biosecurity and flock health management to prevent economically important poultry diseases, assisting in state, regional, national, and international efforts to prevent and control Avian Influenza by preparing educational materials and conducting training workshops on AI prevention and control, and conducting poultry health and biosecurity workshops for small-scale and backyard poultry flock owners.

Genetics and physiology

Mark Cline- macline2@vt.edu, Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Dr. Cline is an Associate Professor of Poultry Physiology in the Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences at Virginia Tech. His research focuses on appetite regulation studying neurotransmitters that are associated with the perception of hunger and satiety.  His program uses various animal models but mostly chickens, including those from genetic lines that have undergone selection for body weight (low/high) consisting of anorexic and obese individuals.  From an agricultural standpoint, his research contributes to increased production efficiencies in poultry.  Additionally, his findings may contribute to the pharmacological cure for anorexia or obesity in a variety of species, including humans.  His group was the first to report the appetiteassociated roles of six neurotransmitters in any species and contributed to the elucidation of other mechanisms of appetite adjustment.

 

Elizabeth Gilbert- egilbert@vt.edu, Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Dr. Gilbert is an Associate Professor of Poultry Nutrition and Physiology in the Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences at Virginia Tech.  Her research focuses on the molecular and cellular signaling mechanisms associated with energy metabolism in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue across different species including chickens and quails.  This research is aimed at improving animal production traits and meat quality, and at developing strategies to reduce the prevalence of obesity and diabetes.  Dr. Gilbert also is interested in epigenetic modifications and interactions of genetic background, diet and development on regulation of selective lipid deposition, insulin resistance and adipocyte turnover.  Specific projects include 1) Elucidating mechanisms underlying differences in food intake and adiposity in chickens selected for high or low body weight, and 2) Investigating the use of flavonoids as anti-obesity/diabetic compounds through improving insulin resistance in adipose tissue and skeletal muscles.

 

 

Tom Porter- teporter@umd.edu, Department of Animal and Avian Sciences University of Maryland  

Dr. Porter in the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences at the University of Maryland is working on a project to understand the changes in nutrient metabolism that occur shortly after chicks hatch.  Supplying chicks with a starter ration shifts their metabolism from relying on fat stored in the yolk to metabolizing sugars in the corn-based diet.  This shift in metabolism is essential for the birds to grow and thrive. Efforts are underway to understand how this metabolic switch is regulated.

 

Lisa Taneyhill- ltaney@umd.edu, Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, University of Maryland

Dr. Taneyhill in the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences at the University of Maryland is working on a project to understand the molecular basis of growth and development in the early chick embryo. Dr. Taneyhill investigates how neural crest cells, which give rise to the craniofacial skeleton, portions of the heart, peripheral nervous system, and skin pigment cells, form in the early embryo and pattern it accordingly. Because of the contribution of neural crest cells to so many different tissues, the proper formation of neural crest cells is critical for the overall growth and development of the embryo into an adult chicken. Research in Dr.

Taneyhill’s lab focuses on characterizing the signaling pathways that regulate the generation of migratory neural crest cells and the ultimate differentiation of these neural crest cells into such diverse cell types.

 

Eric Wong- ewong@vt.edu, Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Dr. Wong is a Professor of Poultry Nutrition in the Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences at Virginia Tech.  His research investigated the expression of genes in the yolk sac and intestine as the chick transitions from absorption of nutrients from the yolk during embryogenesis to absorption of nutrients from the intestine posthatch.  He has focused on profiling the expression of nutrient (amino acid, peptide, carbohydrate) transporters and host defense peptides during this transition in both the normal and disease states including how enteric pathogens influence the intestinal expression of such nutrient transporters and host defense peptides.  

Others

Delaware Department of Agriculture- Kenneth M. Bounds, Deputy Secretary Kenneth.Bounds@state.de.us

DDA is working closely with the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission and EPA to enhance nutrient management compliance inspection and reporting. Tetra Tech was contracted to conduct a study to determine an appropriate review sample size and new Standard Operating Procedures for compliance inspections were developed.  Outreach to the regulated community and stakeholders has been improved; University staff have helped DDA to get the word out and to improve compliance assessment protocols and documents. The Department has been actively engaged with EPA to improve components of the Chesapeake Bay Model. Delaware has lead discussion on forest buffers, setbacks and other components of the model. DDA has also been part of the Mass Balance Study by the Delmarva Land & Litter Challenge group.  This group has been looking at, along with the Universities, a mass balance of nutrients on Delmarva.

Class V of LEA Delaware, the collaborative agriculture leadership program administered by DDA and the University of Delaware, in under way with their two-year fellowship that will conclude with an international trip. The class is diverse and represents a wide range of agricultural interests in the state, including poultry, DDA and DNREC. A close look at the industry was afforded participants in their last study seminar.

 

Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. (DPI)-Holly Porter, Assistant Executive Director- porter@dpichicken.com

DPI is the trade organization for the chicken industry in Delaware, the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Eastern Shore of Virginia. Our nearly 1,800 members include the farm families that grow the chickens, over 350 businesses that supply products or services to the industry, hundreds of individuals who work for or support the industry, and the five companies operating on Delmarva.

DPI focuses on strengthening the chicken industry through government relations, communications, industry promotion, environmental initiatives and education. We spend countless hours offering legislative representation at the local, state and federal levels. DPI is the trusted source of information about the industry, through traditional and social media channels. Our one-of-a-kind Vegetative Environmental Buffers Program offers technical assistance to growers in installing buffers, pollinators and other tools as both environmental and good neighbor practices. Each year DPI plans and implements the National Meeting on Poultry Health, Processing and Live Production, bringing in speakers from worldwide to address topics specific to the chicken industry.

DPI is a non-profit, governed by a Board of Directors, including a President and Vice-President. Daily duties are administered by the Executive Director and staff of four. The staff receive a lot of input from five committees:

  • Executive committee – makes management and policy decisions
  • Grower committee – shares best practices, organizes workshops and allows growers to connect
  • Environmental committee – assess environmental issues and regulatory decisions affecting the industry
  • Poultry health committee – plan the National Meeting, as well as respond to chicken health issues
  • Government relations committee – discusses how DPI should respond to legislative affairs in Richmond, Dover, Annapolis, Washington D.C. and even locally Member benefits of DPI include:
  • Subscriptions to our quarterly newsletters, DPI in Action and Timely Topics, which are filled with current events, legislative updates and educational articles
  • Timely notices of educational opportunities and regulatory actions
  • Opportunity to attend our spring Booster Banquet, with over 900 growers, legislators and industry members
  • Free technical assistance in installing vegetative environmental buffers
  • Opportunities to participate in discounted membership programs, such as our electric buying group

 

Harry. R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology- Suzanne Dorsey- Secretary sdorsey1@umd.edu

The Harry R. Hughes Center of Agro-Ecology provides leadership to promote environmentally sound and economically viable agriculture and forestry as Maryland’s preferred land use. The Center uses research, outreach and collaboration as methods to accomplish that mission. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliated with the University of Maryland, the Center delivers sciencebased, applied and unbiased information to foster collaborative solutions. Its staff promotes and supports the work of Maryland farmers and foresters who protect our natural resources even while being challenged to produce more food, fiber and revenue under increasing regulations. Since its inception in 1999, the Hughes Center has provided $9.9 million to support 68 research projects aimed to help farmers, foresters and local governments achieve both economic success and sound environmental stewardship.

 

The Center has been a funder and participant on the Delmarva Land and Litter Challenge (DLLC)

Steering Team. In this role, the Center’s staff works on the State of Industry and the Innovative

Solutions and Technologies workgroups. The State of the Industry workgroup collects data to develop a greater understanding of the poultry industry on Delmarva, and the Center provided several University of Maryland contacts and outside sources for assistance with this. 

In addition, the Innovative Solutions and Technologies workgroup provides DLLC members with insight into technologies and research being conducted that will move DLLC’s initiatives forward. The recently funded project, Innovative Manure Management Strategies to Promote Phosphorus Balance and Sustain Agriculture on the Delmarva Peninsula, is of interest to DLLC’s members and they look forward to a presentation by the investigators, Mark Reiter (Virginia Tech), Amy Shober (University of Delaware) and Gurpal Toor (University of Maryland).

Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA)- Jason D. Schellhardt, Director of Communications  jason.schellhardt@maryland.gov

The department’s Animal Health section continues to be vigilant in its efforts against High Path

Avian Influenza (HPAI). MDA staff has coordinated with Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Department of Health (MDH), and various stakeholder groups to develop a thorough plan of action in the event that HPAI ever reaches the state/region. MDA has also organized several tabletop exercises to bring all parties together for a simulated response. 

The department also has a number of programs that address the environmental impact of poultry farming. This includes Nutrient Management, the Phosphorus Management Tool, and Cost-Share programs that provide financial assistance to farmers installing best management practices. The department also has an Animal Waste Technology funds that provides grants for projects that convert poultry litter into renewable energy. 

Our Maryland’s Best program provides marketing support to all agriculture and seafood producers, including the poultry industry. The program aims to identify and develop profitable opportunities in local, regional, and international markets. The MDA marketing program has a direct and indirect financial impact on farmers and producers and affects the way they sell their products and develop new buyers. 

Agri-Tech Producers,LLC (UMES-Industry Partner)-Suzanne Street, Coordinator sstreet@umes.edu

ATP-MD, LLC is the Maryland operating affiliate of South Carolina-based Agri-Tech Producers,

LLC (ATP) and both companies have been collaborating with University of Maryland Eastern Shore in a variety of interrelated activities, supported by MIPS and other funding sources, which will benefit the poultry industry and enhance the environment of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

CRBBP Process: ATP’s patent-pending Combined Remediation Biomass and Bio-Product Production (CRBBP) Process to use sorghum to first, extract excess phosphorus from

Chesapeake Bay watershed farm soils, and then to convert the resulting biomass into innovative and cost-advantaged bio-products, like fillers which enhance the performance of composites and plastics or use as poultry house bedding. NRCS EQIP Grant: In support of its collaboration with UMES, ATP-MD has been awarded an EQIP Grant to demonstrate its planting of biomass sorghum as a Best Management Practice (BMP) cover crop. Upon gaining BMP status, producers, which deploy this practice, will be awarded conservation payments, which substantially reduce the costs to establish this crop.