1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this cooperative research is to develop organic and sustainable production strategies that reduce pathogen colonization in poultry and livestock and improve production efficiency for farmers.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
We are focused on a comprehensive approach to reduce pathogen and disease sources in organic poultry production systems. Caprylic acid (CA) is a natural, fatty acid present in bovine milk and coconut oil, and is an FDA-approved food-grade compound. Trans-cinnamaldehyde (TC) is also a food-grade compound naturally present in cinnamon oil. Our preliminary research indicates that CA and TC are bactericidal on Salmonella and Campylobacter, highlighting the potential of CA and TC as new tools to control these pathogens in organic poultry. In addition treating birds and the litter with natural products such as these essential oils, probiotics and bacteriophage will also be assessed. National Organic Program compliance, education and outreach to farmers will be provided through NCAT publications and their website.
3. Progress Report:
The ARS Poultry Production and Product Safety Research Unit has expertise in poultry production, food safety, and disease issues associated with both conventional and organic farms. In addition the sister unit at Booneville, the ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farm Research Center has expertise in cattle and small ruminant production, grazing strategies, and disease issues associated with small farms production. NCAT staff has expertise in agricultural training and outreach strategies focused on animal production issues, agricultural economics, and agribusiness research and extension, and is known for developing and delivering timely and practical assistance to agricultural producers. Both institutions are also involved in educational and research cooperation involving military veterans and disadvantaged farmers. Several programs were conducted to provide research findings to farmers through this agreement. 1) Armed to Farm Boot Camp on the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Campus, June 2013. NCAT, University of Arkansas, and ARS sponsored 30 military veterans who were housed in dorms on campus and participated in classroom lectures, on-farm demonstrations, and hands-on training at local farms in a week-long intensive training program. This comprehensive course provided needed skills and resources to enhance the profitability of military veteran farming enterprises, and allows them to utilize the latest technology derived from ARS and university research. 2) Southern SAWG holds the Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference, an annual January event that provides a forum to learn about sustainable farming techniques and marketing strategies, community food systems, and federal farm policies and programs that promote sustainable agriculture. This event also provides producers, researchers, information providers, concerned consumers, and community organizers the opportunity to build networks, strengthen alliances, and recognize the achievements of Southern sustainable farmers. We sponsored 55 veterans and family members to attend the meeting and hosted a working session for military veterans. The attendees were provided needed skills and resources to enhance the profitability of their farming enterprises and to allow them to utilize the latest technology derived from ARS research.