The NCSU Prestage Poultry Science Department
During the past five decades the poultry industry has achieved unparalleled success, and has become the model for the efficient production of high quality protein. Poultry agribusinesses produce the single greatest source of animal protein in the USA. North Carolina is one of the national leaders in poultry production. Approximately 800 million broiler chickens and 39 million turkeys are produced in this state by large integrated companies and their contract growers annually. A number of independent table-egg producers and game bird producers make up the remainder of the state's poultry industry.
The continued expansion of the various segments of the poultry industry is vital to the economy of North Carolina, and is dependent on the training of individuals with expertise in a number of broad disciplines. The challenges facing the poultry industry will only be met by the infusion of innovative ideas from a new generation of men and women trained in Poultry Science and its related disciplines.
In addition to providing an excellent source of nutritious food, poultry research has also made significant contributions to our understanding of many basic principles of biology. Advances in human nutrition, genetics, immunology, developmental biology, toxicology, biotechnology, and health have often been made possible by the use of avian models. For example, many of our human vaccines were developed in chick/duck embryo systems. Much of what we know about the human immune system was first described using avian models.
Likewise, most of the vitamins were first discovered as an off-shoot of poultry nutrition studies. Either as a source of protein or as a basic avian research or human biomedical model, poultry serves as a valuable contributor to human well-being.