After wrapping up another successful Poultry World exhibit at the Georgia National Fair (www.georgianationalfair.com), I am reminded how fortunate we are to work with such a great group of industry and academic volunteers. More than 160 individuals from 22 different organizations and facilities volunteered to staff the exhibit during the 10 days of the fair. This often involved answering a wide range of questions and explaining the important role that the poultry industry plays in providing a wholesome food supply to the world, while serving as an economic engine here in the State of Georgia. One of my favorite things is to see the eyes of school children light up as they watch the chicks hatch and then hold the days-old birds. It is also exciting to see the school children lined up and wrapped around and outside the building waiting to enter the exhibit. For many, it is their first visit, while others have made visiting Poultry World an annual pilgrimage. I often hear parents and teachers mention that their visit to the fair would not be complete without a stop to hold a baby chick.
Besides being an interactive “playground,” Poultry World is also a valuable educational tool for adults and children alike. With individual exhibits on feed and nutrition, the development of a hatching egg, the hatchery, brooding, growout, the processing stages, and the table egg industry, visitors can glean a wealth of information about the various aspects of the poultry business. These displays also impress upon students, in particular, that poultry production and processing is rich in science and engineering, and that academic pursuits in these fields are essential for a successful career in modern agriculture. Of course, one of the challenges is keeping the information and content fresh, relevant, and engaging. Several great ideas have been suggested for improving the displays and making them more interactive, and we are always looking for new ways to enhance the exhibit. While it may take some investment of time and resources to keep it going, the Poultry World exhibit has become a pivotal and valuable part of the industry’s outreach efforts in the community. So, I want to thank all the volunteers and companies for making Poultry World the best and most visited exhibit at the fair!
If you or your company would like to volunteer to staff a shift at the Poultry World exhibit next year, please contact Kristi Campbell at (404) 894-3412.
Doug Britton, Ph.D.
ATRP Program Manager