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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Decline of Academic Poultry Science in the United States of America

Authors
item Thaxton, Vizzier - MISS STATE UNIVERSITY
item Cason Jr, John
item Cox, Nelson
item Morris, Sara - MISS STATE UNIVERSITY
item Thaxton, J - MISS STATE UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: World Poultry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 14, 2003
Publication Date: September 1, 2003
Citation: Thaxton, V.Y., Cason Jr, J.A., Cox Jr, N.A., Morris, S.E., Thaxton, J.P. 2003. The decline of academic poultry science in the united states of america. World Poultry. 59(3):303-313.

Interpretive Summary: In the United States, colleges of agriculture started teaching poultry husbandry classes just over 100 years ago. By 1950 there were poultry science departments at more than 40 state colleges and universities, but as the poultry industry matured, poultry departments were frequently merged with other departments or abolished. As the poultry industry concentrated in fewer states and most of the American population migrated into urban areas, the trend continued until there are now only 7 active departments of poultry science, only 5 of which grant the Ph.D. degree in poultry science. A loss of industry support for poultry research, changes in the way that universities fund research, and difficulty in recruiting students have also influenced the disappearance of poultry science. This paper reviews the changes and possible future consequences for the poultry industry.

Technical Abstract: Academic poultry science in the U.S.A. had its origins in the early part of the 20th century. It reached its peak with 45 active departments in the 1940s, but then started to decline significantly in the 1960s until there are only 7 active departments today. There have been a number of published theories as to why as the industry grew the academic programs disappeared. Declining student numbers and failure to address industry concerns are the primary theories. This paper puts all of the available published work together to present the situation as it evolved and point to a possibly inevitable outcome.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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