Lasher Fellowship for Graduate Students

November 2, 2012 under CANR News

The family of Dr. Hiram Lasher—a pioneer in poultry vaccine research, development, and commercialization, and a generous benefactor of the University of Delaware—has announced the establishment of the Hiram Lasher Fellowship Award at the University of Delaware.

“We are honored that Dr. Lasher’s family has established the Hiram Lasher Fellowship award to benefit graduate students pursuing studies in poultry health at UD,” says Jack Gelb, professor and chair of animal and food sciences, and the director of the Avian Biosciences Center at UD. “Dr. Lasher directly influenced many, many people from all walks of life directly through his support, his knowledge and generosity.  It is fitting that Dr. Lasher’s family has established this fellowship so that his legacy can live on.”

The family’s announcement of the scholarship is available on

Dr. Lasher, 92, died Oct. 7 after a short illness. In 1997, the University dedicated the Lasher Laboratory in Dr. Lasher’s honor in Georgetown, Del. The laboratory, formerly owned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was transferred to UD when the USDA decided to close it. A $250,000 gift from Dr. Lasher allowed the University to update and renovate the lab.

In 2008, Dr. Lasher was awarded the University of Delaware Medal of Distinction. Robin Morgan, then dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, read a citation that noted his importance to the poultry industry worldwide and also noted his extraordinary contributions in Delaware to education, youth development and public service. “Hiram Lasher is a scientist, businessman, public servant, educational advocate and philanthropist who contributed significantly to the lives of many Delawareans.,” she said.

Donations to the Hiram Lasher Fellowship Award should be directed to the attention of Robert Rudd, University of Delaware, Office of University Development, 83 E Main St., Newark, DE 19716-0701 with a notation that the donation is to be assigned to the Lasher Fellowship. Alternatively, donations may be made online on the University of Delaware’s Giving webpage.    Please enter “Lasher Fellowship” in the “Other” box on the web form.


Upcoming seminars provide insight into poultry career opportunities

September 24, 2012 under CANR News

While the economy may be not be strong, employment opportunities in the poultry industry are thriving. It is with this in mind that the University of Delaware will host a Poultry Careers Seminar Series throughout the month of October and into November geared towards students interested in a career in the poultry industry.

The seminars will all take place at 6 p.m. in room 101 of the Allen Laboratory and will provide students an opportunity to speak directly to employers offering internships, management trainee programs and full time positions. A free dinner will be offered before each seminar and there will be drawings for two $50 Barnes and Noble gift cards for students who attend all 4 seminars.

The seminars include:

  • Wednesday, 10/3: Why a Career in Poultry Science? Why not! Employment opportunities are still great in the poultry industry, and this seminar will include presentations from Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.—a nonprofit trade association working for the continued progress of the broiler chicken industry on the Delmarva Peninsula— who will present an overview of the industry and the many poultry career opportunities. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will also present, focusing on an overview of career opportunities available at USDA-AMS.
  • Monday, 10/8: How to Use Industry and Research Internships to Jump Start your Resume. Bernie Murphy, the General Manager of the Agricultural Division of Jones-Hamilton Co., will discuss internship and career opportunities at Jones-Hamilton Co. and collaborative research projects with UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR). Jones-Hamilton Co. has been a leader in producing, packaging and distributing chemicals and products sold to manufacturing, processing and agricultural end users such as the poultry industry. Perdue Farms will also present, focusing on management training programs, internship and career opportunities in the company. Katelyn MacCann, a recent graduate from CANR’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS), will be among the presenters.
  • Tuesday, 10/16: Domestic Career Opportunities in the Industry & Cooperative Extension Service. Mountaire Farms, a diverse, fast growing poultry and agricultural business which partners with local farming communities to raise chickens and grains, will give a presentation on management training programs, internship and career opportunities. The UD Cooperative Extension Service, which connects the public with University knowledge, research and resources to address youth, family, community and agricultural needs, will present on career opportunities and the CANR Cooperative Extension Summer Scholars Program.
  • Thursday, 11/1: National and International Opportunities in the Industry. Cobb-Vantress Incorporated, one of the the world’s leaders in research, development and sellers of breeding stock to the broiler industry, will give an overview of their international company and discuss internship and career opportunities. Elanco, a world leader in developing products and services that enhance animal health, wellness and performance, will also have a presentation given by Nannette Olmeda-Geniec, who works for them as a poultry technical consultant. Olmeda-Geniec earned her Ph. D at UD in the ANFS department and she will give an overview of the company as well as discuss internship and career opportunities.

There will also be information about a travel opportunity to Atlanta, Georgia in January 2013 to attend the largest international poultry and agribusiness trade show at the United States Poultry and Egg Association (USPEA) College Student Career Program. The program will allow students opportunities to interview with 25 regional, national and international poultry and agribusiness companies and organizations while having the opportunity to network with over 900 companies. Most student travel expenses are covered with minimal cost to students attending this conference.

Students interested in attending any of these seminars should log into their Blue Hen Career account to RSVP for the Seminar Series for each individual seminar so that food can be planned accordingly.

For more information, e-mail Diane Venninger at


New Poultry Extension Blog

January 26, 2012 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

The UD Poultry Extension blog has officially launched at!

The blog is maintained by Bill Brown, state poultry extension specialist, and Stephen Collier, poultry research manager, both at Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown.


Jack Gelb awarded 2012 Worrilow Award

January 23, 2012 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Worrilow Award winners (from left to right) Ted Haas(2001), Wesley Towers (1990), Jack Gelb (2012), U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, Walter Hopkins (1997), Joanne Whalen (2011), Buzz Klopp (2000) and Ed Kee (1995). Present but not pictured was Keith Carlisle (1998).

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper spoke to a large gathering at University of Delaware Cooperative Extension’s Friends of Ag Breakfast in Harrington on Friday, Jan. 20, concluding a successful Delaware Ag Week. The breakfast also served as the occasion to present the 2012 George M. Worrilow Award to UD’s Jack Gelb, Jr.

Gelb is chair of UD’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences and director of the Avian Bioscience Center in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).

The award is presented annually by the UD Agricultural Alumni Association to an individual, in recognition of exemplary service to agriculture. The honor is named for Dr. George M. Worrilow, who served as dean of the college from 1954 to 1965.

Past Worrilow Award honorees Ted Haas (2001) and Spangler (Buzz) Klopp (2000) saluted Gelb’s five decades of excellence and his significant contributions to CANR, Delaware agriculture and, in particular, to the Delmarva poultry Industry.

“Jack is known to Delaware, nationally and internationally for his research and emphasis in avian respiratory diseases, avian influenza, and for his major role in the discovery of Gumboro Disease,” Klopp said.

The economic benefits of his research have been significant, saving the Delaware poultry economy $250,000 a week, Klopp told the large audience.

“This is an incredible honor for me,” Gelb said. “I did not have the opportunity to meet this fine gentleman (George Worrilow) but I have heard so many stories how he set things up and got things done. He inspired people about agriculture. That’s what it is all about, isn’t it?”

At UD, Gelb earned a bachelor’s degree in entomology in 1974 and a master’s degree in animal virology in 1976. He received his doctorate in microbiology and avian medicine from the University of Georgia.

“I came to the college in the 1970s, riding that first ecology wave and then, as now, students were welcomed, nurtured and developed there,” Gelb said.

He recalled, “As students, we got to work with leading veterinarians and researchers and work with farmers directly.”

Gelb marveled at the value of being able to put what was learned in the classroom and lab to practical use in the field.

Remarks on behalf of Gov. Markell

Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, former UD Extension specialist and Worrilow Award recipient in 1995, brought remarks from Gov. Jack Markell and kudos for Gelb.

Kee said previous recipients review the resumes and make recommendations for the award. “You set a high bar,” Kee said.

Kee shared remarks of behalf of the governor and the administration’s efforts to promote Delaware agriculture and its continued competitiveness in a global market.

“Gov. Markell appreciates the economic importance of agriculture, as a way of life and for the cultural traditions that are a part of Delaware,” Kee said.

Kee cited the success of the Young Farmer’s Program, which offers zero percent interest to enable the purchase of land and assists the next generation of farmers in the settlement process.

“The governor understands the need to sustain our profitability and keep on the competitive edge in ag,” Kee said.

Through a strategic fund, the Markell administration supports infrastructure and businesses that are agricultural fixtures in Delaware, including Perdue, Mountaire, Vlasic and Hanover. “We want to keep them here and allow them to compete in a global economy,” Kee said.

At the breakfast Kee shared that Markell acknowledged the Delaware Rural Irrigation Program (DRIP) in his recent State of the State address. Through the investment of strategic funds, Delaware farmers are able to invest in new irrigation systems. In the past, Delaware has gone from 25,000 acres to 130,000 acres of irrigated cropland. “Farmers made that investment. That is why agriculture works in Delaware,” he said.

Nutrient management

Also at the event, Carper saluted Delaware agriculture and its willingness to face inland bay pollution head on by taking the lead in the formation of the Nutrient Management Commission in the 1990s.

Dave Baker, chair of the commission, and William Vanderwende, vice-chair, were recognized for their efforts and were presented with framed copies of Congressional Record statements issued on Dec. 14, 2011.

“In our state the ag community stood up really tall,” Carper said. He recognized the leadership of Baker and other farmers who created an enviable model for the nation to follow.

“It is incredible what you put into it,” Carper said. “It is amazing what we accomplish when we work together.”

Article by Michele Walfred, also viewable on UDaily


Livestock, Animal Preparations for Hurricane Irene

August 25, 2011 under CANR News

Livestock experts from the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Delaware Department of Agriculture are encouraging livestock and animal owners to consider preparations for Hurricane Irene.  Updates will be posted here on CANR Connect and on the DDA homepage.

DDA has issued this press release in regards to livestock preparations:

Information for poultry growers is posted here:

Tips for companion animal (pet) owners is available here:


The Delaware State Fair is accepting horses for sheltering during the hurricane. There are a limited number of stalls, so you must call ahead prior to taking your horse(s).  FAIRGROUNDS PHONE NUMBER    302-398-3269  EXTENSION 203

Horse owners with low-lying pastures or barns or who expect flooding may consider moving horses off their property. If you are not expecting flooding of your animal area, or if you have high ground to which you can move your horses, please consider sheltering the horses in place (where they normally live).  If your horses are housed near coastal waters, and you are thinking about evacuating your home, you must call the fairgrounds BEFORE loading your horses.

The fairgrounds will be providing only stalls for the horses that are shelterd there. If you call the fairgrounds and they have room for your horse, you must bring your own bedding and feed for your horses. There will not be any feed or bedding at the fairgrounds for you to use.

If you wish to stay at the fairgrounds, that will be allowed. You will need to arrange your own care for your horses. There will not be anyone at the fairgrounds to care for your horses. You will need to take care of your own horses by giving them feed, bedding, and water every day. If you do not have anyone to care for your horses at the fairgrounds, DO NOT take them to the fairgrounds.

Additional equine resources will be posted and updated on UD’s Extension Equine blog.


UD’s Schmidt takes look back to study heat stress in poultry

August 12, 2011 under CANR News

To help the chickens of the future, Carl Schmidt is looking to the chickens of the past. Schmidt, associate professor of animal and food sciences and biological sciences at the University of Delaware, has been awarded a grant to study heat stress on chickens — both those that would have been around in the grocery stores of the 1950s and those that are found in supermarkets today.

Totaling $4.7 million, the five-year grant is funded through the Climate Change Initiative of the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA).

Schmidt said of the research, “The basic thought is that with climate change, it’s not so much the fact that the average temperature is going to go up a couple of degrees; it’s more the anticipation that there will be more heat waves, they will be hotter and they will last longer. And that is a problem for poultry production.”

By studying poultry from the 1950s, or “heritage” chickens, Schmidt is trying to see if any specific alleles — or individual gene variances — have been bred out of modern chickens that might make them less resistant to heat stress.

“Our hope is to identify particular alleles, variances in the population of genes, that help them survive heat stress. The thought is that if we can identify these alleles, industry could attempt to breed the alleles into their production lines,” he said.

The heritage chickens used by the University of Delaware in the study have been provided by the University of Illinois. In 1956, Illinois scientists set aside a male and female line of chickens and stopped selecting them for improved meat production. Those lines have been maintained, unselected, throughout the years, allowing researchers to study the chickens much as they would have been found in the 1950s.

One of the differences between the two types of chickens is that whereas the modern chicken goes to market in six weeks, the heritage bird would not go to market for 16 weeks. The modern chicken is also a lot larger than the heritage chicken.

Schmidt said, “Given the focus of this, we’re very curious, and we’ve really just started to ask the question: Do these birds response differently to heat stress?”

Explaining his research, Schmidt said, “We heat stress the birds and then we have a controlled population that we don’t heat stress. We then look at response and at gene expression patterns. We’re just doing our first trial but the heritage birds actually are using their drinker — the implement from which they get water — to get wet, whereas the modern chicken hasn’t used that yet.”

Two indicators that will help determine the two breeds’ levels of heat stress will be survival rate and production traits. “In many ways, since these are meat birds, breast muscle yield would be the thing really relevant to that,” Schmidt said. “The anticipation would be that by having to deal with the heat stress, perhaps diverting energy into dumping heat or whatever, they don’t have the final production yields of the control birds.”

Schmidt also said that he is personally interested to see how human selection and evolution has impacted the various traits of the chicken. “How did selection pull out alleles of genes that for example made the breast muscle like three times bigger? That’s the kind of thing that really excites me.”

Schmidt is collaborating on the research with Susan Lamont and Max Rothschild from Iowa State University and Chris Ashwell from North Carolina State University.

In addition to the professors from other universities, students from UD will also help conduct the research. Those students involved include Janet de Mena, Schmidt’s associate and a UD graduate; Liang Sun, a doctoral student in animal sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; and Shurnevia Strickland, a master’s degree student in animal sciences.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily > >

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Danielle Quigley


Practice makes perfect at Allen Lab

August 1, 2011 under CANR News, Events

Conferring outside Allen Laboratory are (from left) Jack Gelb, chairperson of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences; Krista Murray, biosafety officer in Environmental Health and Safety; Marvin Clark, sergeant in Public Safety; and Joseph Miller, assistant director of Environmental Health and Safety.

When Bob Alphin discovered two coworkers injured and unconscious on the floor in one of the labs of the C.C. Allen Biotechnology Laboratory, it set in motion a process that soon involved emergency personnel from the campus and state agencies and other institutions.

In this case, the two victims — Brian Ladman and Erin Bernberg — were only pretending to be unconscious, but the pretense had a serious purpose: Testing the University’s emergency response protocols.

The scenario for the full-scale exercise was created by Michael Gladle, director of Environmental Health and Safety, Marcia Nickle, emergency preparedness manager in Campus and Public Safety, and Ladman, who is an associate scientist at Allen Lab, to give participants a chance to see how they might react in a true crisis.

The exercise, which took place Wednesday afternoon, July 27, at Allen Lab, involved not only staff from the lab and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), but also participants from UD Police, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities and the Office of Communications and Marketing, as well as Aetna Hose Hook and Ladder Fire Company, the New Castle County Hazmat/DECON team, the Delaware departments of Agriculture, Public Health and Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Christiana Care Health System at Christiana Hospital. University Media Services taped the exercise for use in future training.

To read the full article please click here to go to UDaily. 


Chaloupka receives DPI’s Distinguished Citizen Award

May 4, 2011 under CANR News

George Chaloupka receives award from Jim Smith, President of DPI

George Chaloupka, a retired University of Delaware poultry specialist, received the J. Frank Gordy, Sr. Delmarva Distinguished Citizen Award, the Delmarva Poultry Industry’s (DPI) highest honor, at DPI’s 55th annual Booster Banquet, held Wednesday, April 13 in Salisbury, Maryland.

Robin Morgan, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, called Chaloupka, “a truly outstanding Delawarean.” She added, “We are very proud that he worked at the University of Delaware for many years, including serving as Director of the Georgetown Substation, now known as the Research and Education Center. In addition to his service to UD, however, George Chaloupka has an amazing record of community service. He is certainly a distinguished citizen of Delmarva, and it is wonderful to see him recognized by this prestigious award.”

In a DPI press release announcing the award, Chaloupka was cited for his work collecting information about the chicken industry and in the area of recent Delmarva Chicken Festivals, as well as his work on the DPI-produced 1998 history book about Delmarva’s chicken industry. Chaloupka was also credited with conducting research and education beneficial to the chicken industry during his tenure at the University of Delaware, until retiring 20 years ago.

The release also notes that Chaloupka remains active in community affairs, including the Delaware Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, the Bridgeville Public Library, Little League baseball, the band boosters, and decades of service through the Kiwanis Club of Bridgeville.

Bill Satterfield, executive director of the Delmarva Poultry Industry, noted, “George has made many important contributions to our industry through his University of Delaware research and educational programs, working for a chicken company, and in other ways.”

Satterfield also said, “Thanks to George’s work as the ‘unofficial Delmarva chicken industry historian,’ a lot of information about the history of our industry has been retained and is available to future use. His efforts have allowed thousands of people not familiar with the industry to better understand how we have evolved to an industry that is helping feed the world.”

Mark Isaacs, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences and director of the Carvel Research and Education Center, commented on the award, saying “George was our extension poultry specialist prior to serving as our facility Director his last five years. His leadership and commitment to our poultry industry and to the University of Delaware was outstanding. Winning the Delmarva Distinguished Citizen Award is truly deserving for George’s exceptional commitment to sustaining and promoting our Delmarva poultry industry.”


MSNBC news program features CANR chickens, ACRES hydrogen storage research

April 1, 2011 under CANR News

MSNBC came to campus asking questions about the future of energy. Thursday, March 31 the cable network aired what it learned.

UPDATE: See the aired segment online here:

Dylan Ratigan, host of The Dylan Ratigan Show, and a television crew taped a segment on the University of Delaware’s Affordable Composites from Renewable Sources (ACRES) program. Chemical engineering doctoral student Erman Senoz detailed in an interview how the research group uses chicken feathers to store hydrogen for use in cars, buses and other forms of transport.

The segment aired as part of the show’s “Steel on Wheelsfeature, which Ratigan labels as a road trip tackling the nation’s most important issues. He includes energy in that list.

The ACRES program, headed by Richard Wool, professor of chemical engineering, designs and develops bio-based materials for use in various renewable energy projects, from fuel cells to energy efficient housing.

While in Newark, the MSNBC crew taped at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources‘ chicken houses, where Allen Laboratory manager Bob Alphin gave them a tour. They also viewed one of UD’s hydrogen buses, the product of work conducted by UD’s Center for Fuel Cell Research.

The original UDaily posting can be viewed online here.


Delaware agriculture is an $8 billion industry, according to new UD study

March 24, 2011 under CANR News

Agriculture is an $8 billion industry in Delaware, according to a recent study published by the Department of Food and Resource Economics in the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The study — conducted by UD faculty members Titus Awokuse and Tom Ilvento, with help from graduate student Zachary Johnston — used input-output analysis, taking into account the market value of products sold from on-farm production, revenue from processing and manufacturing of agricultural products, and inter-industry linkages to determine the value added to the economy.

A study of this magnitude had not been conducted since the early 1980s. According to the authors, this new report is much more accurate in its calculations for the true impact of agriculture in Delaware.

Historically, $1.1 billion has been the most commonly cited number for the impact of agriculture in Delaware. “But this is the total market value of agricultural products sold at the farm level, just a small piece of the picture,” according to Awokuse, associate professor and director of graduate studies for food and resource economics.

The new report shows that the processing of farm products adds a previously unaccounted for $3.8 billion. Forestry production and processing add an additional $831 million, with ag-related services (i.e. crop dusting, ditch digging) adding $28 million.

The research project was commissioned by Robin Morgan, dean of the college. “This study was needed because the impact of agriculture in Delaware is much larger than farm receipts and (the impact) should account for processing of agricultural products. Agriculture is a large and vital part of Delaware’s economy, and our understanding of its impact needs to be as accurate as possible,” says Morgan.

In addition to the total industry impact, the report provides separate results by county and for several key agricultural commodities: poultry, dairy, fruits and vegetables, corn, soybeans, wheat, greenhouse, nursery and horticultural products.

With Delaware’s long history of poultry production, it was no surprise to the authors that the majority of the economic value of agriculture comes from the production and processing of poultry products, with an industry output of $3.2 billion and over 13,000 jobs.

The report also provides a summary of statistics relative to the changing face of agriculture in Delaware, noting there are fewer farms in Delaware, but the size and productivity of farming operations has increased over time.

Awokuse notes that this trend is in large part because “both technological and biological innovations within agriculture now allow a single operator to be more productive and maintain a larger operation, hence the consolidation of farms across the state.”

And, according to the authors, the state of Delaware agriculture will continue to change.

“Farmers are being asked to produce more on less and less acreage and they turn to science and technology to make that happen. Agriculture is a modern, efficient, technologically advanced industry, even if the image is still rooted in a 19th century image of farming,” says Ilvento, professor and chair of the Department of Food and Resource Economics. “Changing that image, assisting farmers to find modern solutions, and promoting the importance of agriculture — that’s what our college is all about.”

A full version of the report can be viewed online.

This article can also be viewed online on UDaily by clicking here.