On Monday September 10th 2018, we had a guest speaker come in Mrs, Cartanza to talk about how the poultry industry has changed over many years. Mrs, Cartanza had brought up how big of an economic impact the poultry industry is, she showed in her powerpoint that “the value of birds have a $3.2 billion dollar impact” with that being said there is also a lot of money that goes into feeding these birds over the 9 weeks that they are in the chicken house. This involves 85.4 million bushels of corn and 35.5 million bushels of soybeans to feed these birds on Delmarva. Mrs, Cartanza had also brought up how big our selection of integrators are on Delmarva. We have 6 big businesses that includes, Allen- Harim, Amick, Mountaire, Perdue, Tyson and Coleman Natural Foods. Having this many integrators to choose from on Delmarva is big because it gives the produce many different options because some of these integrators have certain standards/needs for the producer to do.
During this powerpoint Mrs, Cartanza brought something up that really caught my eye, which was how different Organic chicken houses are compared to “Regular” chicken houses I like to call them, but what really came out at me was that we have all of these big safety regulations for “regular” chicken producers to follow by this I mean Bio- Security. Bio-Security is so big in the poultry industry for the main reason being we don’t want these birds sick, but with an Organic bird they are able to go outside as they please, which to me is the number one way/ the biggest risk to get disease, and the first thing that hit my mind would be Avian Influenza. This is one of the biggest diseases that chicken farmers battle/prevent. Thats why Bio-Security is so important, but this is what had brought my question of “If we know that we are more at risk with letting a bird outside that keeping them inside, why do we do it”, Mrs, Cartanza responded with “Thats what the consumer wants” Consumers want to see on the label that it says they went outside… this is a topic that really hits hard with me, I plan to do more research on this topic itself.
Finally, I also wanted to bring up how Mrs, Cartanza had said how big of an impact social media has on the poultry industry. I couldn’t have agreed with her any more, that is the number one challenge that producers and integrators face daily. These consumers seem to believe these false images being put online for example, chickens being injected with hormones/ steroids or animal abuse. These images that they are seeing on social media could possibly affect the poultry industry, my question for the people that put these images would be if people stopped eating/ buying chicken, what would you do? The poultry business is done you have nothing else left? That question runs through my head constantly.
I would like to thank Mrs, Cartanza for coming to speak to the Intro to Ag class! I learned a lot, but still have many questions!