Kumar Venkitanarayanan wants to feed the world — with chickens raised without antibiotics. This poses challenges, explains the animal science professor and associate dean of CAHNR, in keeping birds healthy, production high, and waste generation low — for environmental reasons. “Poultry meat is projected to be a major source of protein for the increasing human population, which is projected to be 10 billion by 2050,” says Venkitanarayanan. “The broiler industry has been able to reach high levels of production through selective breeding and by using antibiotics as growth promoters. We are not sure how phasing out antibiotic growth promoters will affect the sustainability of the industry, especially to meet future demand for the increasing population.” His chance for success increased quite a bit this August when the USDA awarded his project $10 million.
Photo by Peter Morenus