ARMIDALE’S Poultry Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has made history, becoming the only organisation in the world to receive two awards from the World’s Poultry Science Association (WPSA) after winning the WPSA Education Award for 2012.
The awards are only held once every four years, with the Poultry CRC winning the Organisation Award in 2008.
The WPSA awards have been held every four years since 1996, with three awards given at each ceremony in the categories of organisation, education and science.
CRC CEO Mingan Choct accepted the award at the 2012 World’s Poultry Congress in Brazil last week and said it was a huge honour for the CRC.
Professor Choct said that the award was a great achievement not only for the CRC but for the Australian poultry industry in general.
“Just about every country has some sort of poultry production and the Australian production is about one per cent of global production, yet we are winning this award, which is really a big thing for us,” he said.
“They only give out the awards when there are worthy recipients so that makes it even tougher.
“We are very honoured to have it and a lot of people worked for it.”
The CRC received winnings of 11,000 euros, which will be put towards improving the organisation’s Poultry Hub website as well as helping third-world countries by providing education materials and establishing an information package.
The education program at the Poultry CRC takes a four pillar approach, focusing on higher education, vocational education and training, schools and public education.
Professor Choct said one important part of education about the poultry industry involves dispelling misconceptions about the industry, relating to issues such as cages and hormone use.
“Fifty per cent or 70 per cent of the population, depending on a survey, believe that the poultry industry is full of hormones,” he said.
“In fact hormones were banned in 1959, and even before that it wasn’t commercially used because it cost a lot of money to inject birds.
“Even injecting hormones doesn’t give you a lot of advantage and it costs money so in a cuthroat industry with low margins, nobody wants to do it, but this logic doesn’t go through to the public so that’s misconception.”
One initiative rolled out by the CRC is classroom-tailored resource kits, filled with class plans and materials designed to fill a 50-minute school period.
Mr Choct said that most local schools were using the kits, which have proved to be extremely popular.
“That’s just going off like hotcakes, more than 600 schools have taken that up,” he said.
“We actually haven’t advertised for it but we’ve still got requests coming in all the time, it’s amazing.”
The Poultry CRC also received a Australian Government innovation award back in May for a vaccine they delivered to the market.