PoultryAt the Georgia Poultry Lab Network in Gainesville, Executive Director Dr. Louise Dufour-Zavala and her team are working hard to keep poultry, its industry and consumers healthy and safe.

The National Poultry Improvement Plan is a state- federal-industry cooperative poultry health program, with participating companies testing flocks for disease through the lab. The lab also performs many tests to help with poultry health and food safety programs and works closely with industry to cooperatively manage and contain diseases, such as infectious bronchitis, using GIS technology. Additionally, the network works closely with the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Poultry Federation for emergency preparedness in the event of a catastrophic disease like avian influenza or Newcastle Disease. Fortunately, Dufour- Zavala says, Georgia has had no outbreaks of those diseases.

“The Georgia Poultry Lab Network mission cannot be achieved without a very close relationship with the poultry industry and as many private poultry owners as possible in Georgia,” she adds.

Dufour-Zavala notes several of the innovative programs at the lab are unique, such as the use of robotics for testing.

“Our use of robotic technology in the lab for high throughput testing is unique amongst poultry labs in the U.S.,” she says.

Poultry annually has a $28 billion economic impact on the state, ranking Georgia as the No. 1 broiler-producing state in the nation and at No. 5 for chicken eggs. It is no wonder poultry industry leaders and officials work hard to ensure a healthy industry from the inside out.

“I could not think of a better industry than Georgia’s poultry industry to work with and serve,” Dufour-Zavala says. “They are innovative, motivated and positive about producing food economically and safely. They work together in a way that may be the envy of poultry industries elsewhere.

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“The poultry houses I visit are well taken care of, the growers are up-to-date on current events and concerned and protective of their flocks. Plus, they have good relationships with integrators.”

In 2015, the avian influenza preparedness and education efforts enhanced that focus on flock health on the part of the growers.

“The technology, biosecurity, food safety and animal welfare programs implemented by Georgia companies on their farms, hatchery, mills and processing facilities are very impressive,” Dufour-Zavala says.


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