The University of North Georgia recently hosted more than 100 middle and high school students at its Gainesville campus for its annual "Poultry 101" event.
It was the seventh year for the event, which aims to teach students about the poultry industry and some of the related agriculture degrees offered by the school.
Dr. Linda Purvis, creator of the school's Poultry Science club, said the event has grown in popularity over the years.
"This was our largest group to date," Purvis said. "We had several repeat attendees and several brand-new schools attending."
Students from more than 15 schools in Georgia attended the event on February 18. Those who attended were able to take sessions on examining egg quality and judging carcasses and processed products.
UNG junior Jacque Conner of Dawsonville attended the event as a high school student several years ago and now helps attending students with the sessions.
"It was honestly what helped me become so interested in the program to begin with," Conner said. "To be on the other side of the event, setting it up and helping younger students find the same spark that I did was a great experience."
Purvis says the event is the only one of its kind in the poultry field in Georgia and she said local chicken handling businesses like Koch Foods have partnered with the program in recent years.
"While farming is a huge part of the poultry industry, it's not the only part," Purvis said. "You've got veterinarians, pharmaceutical companies, packaging and equipment companies, and transportation. There are labs, testing, health, and nutrition. Students with a wide range of interests can find a poultry career that's right for them."
A 2022 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that overall employment of agricultural and food scientists is expected to grow by 8 percent from 2021 to 2031.