UArkansas professors receives award for improving poultry production efficiency

Yi Liang is associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering
calendar icon 13 February 2023
clock icon 4 minute read

Yi Liang, associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering, was recognized on Jan. 13 for her outreach efforts to assist the poultry industry in solving its biggest challenges, according to a University of Arkansas press release.

Liang received the John W. White Outstanding Extension State Faculty award during the annual Agriculture Awards ceremony held last month.

As an affiliated faculty member with the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, Liang conducts outreach and research efforts for the U of A System Division of Agriculture through its two arms — the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service and the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. Liang also works with biological and agricultural engineering students through the U of A's College of Engineering.

Liang's research and extension efforts focus on finding practical ways to improve poultry production efficiency and sustainability.

"My applied research and extension program provides timely technical assistance to poultry producers, integrators, industry personnel, extension agents and others," Liang said. "I focus on improving poultry production efficiency by improving air quality, reducing farm energy and water usage and evaluating renewable energy applications."

Liang said she strives to make sure her information reaches every corner of the state. Her team utilizes web content, press releases, videos, extension agent trainings and workshops.

Liang said she was proud to be the recipient of the award.

"I was very grateful for being nominated and selected by my peers for this award," Liang said. "I feel honored to be part of the team that dedicates our effort to improve economic status and quality of life for Arkansans."

Lalit Verma, professor and department head of biological and agricultural engineering, nominated Liang for the award because of her service to the poultry industry.

"Dr. Liang has been a diligent and hardworking engineer committed to serving the poultry industry," Verma said. "She is a thorough, team-spirited and sincere faculty member, not only contributing to the extension mission, but also to research through relevant and useful work. She has also contributed to our department's teaching programs. I nominated her because of her consistent, longstanding and superior engineering contributions to the poultry enterprise."

Tom Tabler, professor and poultry extension specialist at the University of Tennessee, worked with Liang during his time with the U of A System.

"Dr. Liang is well known and respected by the Arkansas poultry industry and by many individual poultry producers across the state," Tabler wrote in a nomination letter. "Her work with air quality, energy audits, poultry litter, vegetative shelterbelts, solar energy and sprinkler cooling systems for broiler chickens are just a few of the areas that have made her such a valuable asset to the poultry industry, poultry producers, county agents and the University of Arkansas."

Tabler said that Liang's ability to communicate has helped her find success.

"She is an excellent researcher, but more importantly, she can take research findings and disseminate the information to clientele in an unbiased, understandable format that is easy for them to comprehend, accept and put to use in their daily lives," he wrote.

Walter Bottje, professor of poultry science with the experiment station, said Liang's expertise was instrumental in being awarded a nearly $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The grant project focuses on empowering the U.S. broiler industry for sustainability.

"This comprehensive grant required that all three arms of the land grant mission be represented," Bottje wrote in a nomination letter. "Dr. Liang's work with a commercial sprinkling (surface wetting) system has demonstrated that the amount of water used in cooling broiler houses can be reduced by 50-60% compared to conventional evaporative cooling systems while maintaining growth performance."

David Caldwell, head of the Department of Poultry Science and director of the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, said Liang was a deserving recipient of the award.

"I was thrilled to see Dr. Liang receive this recognition," Caldwell said. "Even though Yi is administratively located in biological and agricultural engineering, we consider her to be one of us, and we are very fortunate to have her as an affiliated faculty member in the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science. It is very fitting to see her receive this award for her commitment to working with poultry integrators and growers across the entire state."

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