Two-day event celebrates accomplishments in poultry research
(Edmonton) The University of Alberta’s Poultry Research Centre marked 25 years of development and innovation in chicken, egg, and turkey production during a two-day event in early June where interactive displays detailing everything from egg production to meat processing were set up at the centre, located on South Campus.
“[We wanted] to try and explain and show and communicate how our research at the poultry centre supports the poultry industry,” executive director Iwona Pawlina explained.
Before the afternoon tours for representatives from industry and government, and the public open house, the first audience of the day was elementary school children, who were especially excited about the display from the popular There’s a Heifer in Your Tank program, the brainchild of researcher Frank Robinson.
He was involved in the research centre from the start, so it was only fitting that he spoke during the evening’s barbecue. He entertained the crowd with his natural knack for humour, reminiscing about the centre’s early days and showing off his 25-year old laptop, a machine weighing 13 pounds. The weekend also saw the centre’s annual general meeting take place at the Snow Valley lodge, which was then followed by research presentations of faculty members and graduate students, highlighting some of the centre’s research findings, such as improving feeds for better quality chicken meat and increasing the antioxidant properties of egg yolks.
“Our stakeholders had an opportunity to learn about what our researchers are working on [and] what our students have accomplished,” said Pawlina, who added that the centre is a joint venture between the U of A, the poultry industry and Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.
Some of the industry officials also took a moment to speak, congratulating the centre on its work, for which Pawlina accepted a gift—an ornamental glass egg.
“We heard a lot of encouraging words and praises, and we saw that the leaders today are looking at the centre with a vision for the future,” she said.
Impressed by the research presentations, Michael Froese, chair of the Alberta Egg Producers, called the producer group’s relationship with the centre “symbiotic.”
“In a broad sense, things happen here, and that’s what excites me,” Froese said.
“They’re able to attract a lot of talent, a lot of intelligence, and to work through things that actually have significance and meaning to us as producers.”