U.S. Poultry Industry Sustainability

Broilers, or chickens raised for meat, are one of the top sources of animal protein in the United States. The broiler industry contributes over $30 billion to the United States economy annually. Climate change, however, is creating serious challenges to the economic and environmental sustainability of the industry.

Xingen Lei, Animal Science, is part of a transdisciplinary team led by Cornell University and the University of Arkansas that is coordinating a combined research, education, and extension effort to ensure the future sustainability of the broiler industry. Goals include these: enhancing water efficiency; improving broilers’ gut health and disease-resistance; developing microalgae-based feed; converting litter and feathers into valuable products; breeding and raising broilers to be healthier and more nutrient rich; educating the next generation of poultry professionals; and engaging stakeholders with new technologies. The project supports the United States poultry industry’s ability to continue to grow and sustainably feed the United States and the world.

Researchers are using a pilot kiln at Cornell to develop methods for producing biofuels from chicken litter. Cornell is also developing a minor in sustainable agricultural systems and a master of professional studies degree for the subject area to provide state-of-the-art training for industry professionals.

The Cornell collaborative team on the project includes researchers from several disciplines: Beth Ahner, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Charles H. Greene, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Johannes Lehmann, Integrative Plant Sciences, Dennis D. Miller, Food Science, Kimberly O’Brien, Nutritional Sciences, Prabhu Pingali, Applied Economics and Management, and Jefferson W. Tester and Fengqi You, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

Award Number: 2019-69012-29905

Cornell Researchers

Funding Received

$4.7 Million spanning 5 years

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