Informing and teaching poultry producers about novel approaches for controlling endemic poultry respiratory diseases in New England states – An Extension Approach

PI: Michael J. Darre

Project Goal:

To develop and implement an effective and comprehensive outreach program to educate and train poultry producers on recognizing and preventing endemic poultry respiratory diseases.

Primary Target Audience:

Commercial and small flock poultry producers. This includes adults and youth participating in 4-H or FFA projects producing poultry eggs and meat.

Secondary Target Audience:

Poultry extension specialists, educators, 4-H and FFA leaders, poultry servicemen and Department of Agriculture personnel will be included in the educational process, since they are the front line for information dissemination to poultry producers.

Methods, Evaluation, Impacts, Problems:


• Update local databases with large, medium and small scale poultry producers from the participating regions and collaborating with other extension specialists/agents to produce current mailing lists, including postal addresses and email addresses, to be used for inviting these producers to attend workshops/meetings/webinars. Notices of meetings will also be posted on Craigslist and Facebook, as successfully used in Alaska to increase program participation. (Brown, 2009). Information will also be posted on various poultry association websites, popular press poultry publications, and on extension pages.

•Without requesting personal identification information, survey a sample of a minimum of 25 poultry producers to assess the various practices/steps followed for identifying and reducing respiratory diseases poultry, and identify risk factors and critical control points for reducing respiratory disease prevalence in farms.

•Develop new materials that can be used with existing:

1) Form a planning group/advisory panel including stakeholders and extension personnel to develop the final educational materials to be disseminated. Peer advisory groups have proven to increase program participation and the development of relevant materials (Place et al., 2005, Infante-Casella and Kline, 2003).

2) These educational materials will include PowerPoint and webinar presentations, posters and fact sheets/pamphlets that can be distributed via various internet websites (Johnson, 2009), email, mailers, exhibits and information packets designed for training programs. Educational materials that supplement and support the subject have been shown to increase positive behavior over time (Bowen and Faison, 2002; Ensle, 2008).

3) A primary focus of our educational programs will be presentations at local, regional and national extension meetings/workshops to provide producers, educators and service people with new materials and methods. This is especially be useful for the small scale producers. According to Bowen and Faison (2002), people attending workshops were three times more likely to change their behavior in a positive manner toward the subject matter taught than those provided with only handouts or booklets on the subject. King (1999) reported that farmers indicated a preference for extension meetings, workshops with handouts and one-on-one instruction.

4) Information will also be distributed to both the scientific community and poultry producers on a national and international basis via conferences and electronic media.

5) Training and materials targeted to 4-H and FFA youth who participate in poultry programs will be developed based on a youth train-the-trainer program. Train-the-trainer programs have been proven successful in HACCP programs and would fit perfectly into our educational model (Martin et al., 1999). Nold and Hansen (2001) reported that quality assurance training had a positive impact on youths’ opinions about quality assurance and consumers, and on youth’s knowledge of quality assurance practices. Emphasis on the character development and decision-making skills resulted in positive responses about the responsibilities of a livestock producer, both to the animals and to consumers.

Evaluation / Impacts:

• Follow-up assessments will be distributed to participants at meetings and other direct contact programs to determine if their respiratory disease reduction practices have changed as a result of the educational effort. For those who learn about control of respiratory disease through our web based materials, a questionnaire will be included with the web materials for them to self-assess any changes they make as a result of accessing our educational materials. (Arnold, 2002, Roucan-Kane, Maud. 2008, Braverman and Engle, 2009)

• It is expected that producers would increase their knowledge of the risk factors associated with the sources and transmission respiratory diseases. We also anticipate that targeted groups will adopt practices that will have a positive effect on reducing respiratory diseases in poultry.

Anticipated Problems:

• In the outreach activities, at times it may be difficult for many busy and/or smaller scale poultry producers to come to training programs.  Therefore, a variety of methods for disseminating the information will be used to help overcome this difficulty. The support of extension personnel at the local and state levels will also help increase awareness and get the message to the target audience.


•Arnold, Mary E. 2002. Be “Logical” about Program Evaluation: Begin with Learning Assessment. Journal of Extension 40(3) 3FEA4

•Bowen, Cathy Faulcon and Nakesha Faison. 2002. Using Simple Educational Methods to Motivate Consumers to Prepare for Emergencies. Journal of Extension 40(5) 5R1B1

•Braverman, Marc. T. and Molly Engle. 2009. Theory and Rigor in Extension Program Evaluation Planning. Journal of Extension 47(3) 3FEA1

•Brown, Stephen. 2009. Extension Program Marketing and Needs Evaluation Using Craigslist. JOE 47(2) 2TOT1

•Ensle, Karen M. 2008. Creating Quick and Easy Displays for Extension Events. Journal of Extension 46(2) 2TOT2

•Infante-Casella Michelle L. and Wesley L. Kline. 2003. Single Commodity Stakeholder Groups as Valuable Advisors to Comprehensive Extension Programs for Crop Production in New Jersey Journal of Extension 41(4) 4TOT5

•Johnson, Steven B. 2009. Expanded Informaiton Delivery Using the World Wide Web. Journal of Extension 47(6) 6TOT5

•King, Robert N. 1999. Identifying Effective and Efficient Methods to Educate Farmers about Soil Sampling. Journal of Extension 37(1) 1RIB3

•Martin, Kenneth E,Steve Knabel and Von Mendenhall. 1999. A Model Train-The-Trainer Program for HACCP-Based Food Safety Training in the Retail/Food Service Industry: An Evaluation, Journal of Extension 37(3) 3FEA1

•Gerald A. Mumma, Patricia M. Griffin, Martin I. Meltzer, Chris R. Braden, and Robert V. Tauxe. 2004. Egg Quality Assurance Programs and Egg-associated Salmonella Enteritidis Infections, United States. Emerging Infectious Diseases 10(10)

•Nold, Rosie and Dana Hanson. 2001. Effectiveness of Quality Assurance Training for Youth. Journal of Extension 39(2) 2FEA4

•Place, N. T., Fox, P., & Summerhill, W. (2005). Extension advisory committees [Web-based learning module]. Available at:http://pdec.ifas.ufl.edu/

•Roucan-Kane, Maud. 2008. Key Facts and Key Resources for Program Evaluation. Journal of Extension 46(1) 1TOT2



abundo.1Extension Activities in the State of Connecticut