Research Farm Opened to the Public, Local Officials

VIRGINIA, US - West Virginia University and Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative Inc. opened their turkey research house to the public last week.
calendar icon 14 January 2010
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On 5 January, West Virginia University (WVU) and Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative Inc. (VPGC) opened the Reymann Memorial Farm to the community, West Virginia poultry industry and the legislature to celebrate the completion of the facility's first research study.

Daily Athenaeum reports that the open house event allowed the community, local poultry growers and the industry to tour of the facility with approximately 60 guests in attendance.

The poultry went under an inaugural 20-week research study that started in June. The facility will start its second study on 15 January.

The goal of the poultry house is to make the turkeys safer and healthier, said Joe Moritz, an associate professor at WVU and poultry specialist.

Professor Moritz said: "Choosing the appropriate genetic strain of the turkey and managing the turkey’s phosphorus levels in its diet allows us to care for the poultry in a safe and efficient way."

The poultry facility houses 1,280 turkeys, with 16 pens and 80 turkeys in each. Turkeys gain up to 40 pounds. Professor Moritz said the average house holds 1,500 turkeys.

He said: "What we are doing is trying to help the local industry by a combination of research and extension effort. Animal science in general is a noble profession, because we are trying to feed hungry people."

The facility is doing its best to stay eco-friendly.

Professor Moritz explained: "We're trying to do it in a way that it doesn't harm the animal, doesn't negatively impact the environment and creates a product that is economical for the population."

The VPGC and WVU work hand in hand. VPGC provides support and problem solving strategies, and WVU provides the research expertise and labour.

Turkey is housed at WVU, because it is the No. 1 agriculture industry in the state of West Virginia.

While Professor Moritz thinks the open house was a good idea, it may not be done in the future.

He told Daily Athenaeum: "It was a risky thing to do because we had to scrub down the whole house and disinfect it. So we have to play it by ear. It was a nice thing to do, but I can always show them through a slide-show."

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