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UMES, MD Hawk Corp., and AviHome Partner to Build Poultry Houses of the Future

  • Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    Standing left to right are: The Honorable Wayne T. Gilchrest; President Thelma B. Thompson, Ph.D.; President and CEO Rafael Correa Sr., MA-TECH and Avi-Tech; State Director Marlene Elliott, USDA Rural Development; Secretary Lewis Riley, Maryland Department of Agriculture; and Executive Director Bill Satterfield, Delmarva Poultry Industry.

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - With major funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) and its non-profit affiliate Maryland Hawk Corporation are undertaking a project with AviHome LLC of Salisbury to build "the poultry house of the future."  A pilot house that can be retrofitted to existing chicken houses will be built on the campus in Princess Anne. The new products consist of new flooring and a new ventilation system.  The UMES Poultry Research Center, under the direction of Dr. Jeannine Harter-Dennis, will raise broilers and conduct technical production and economic and environmental tests in the new Environmental Poultry House, where the various construction elements will be assembled.

    Benefits to Delmarva of this project are expected to include reduced ammonia and carbon dioxide emissions; reduced litter usage; reduced bacteria, fungus, and mold; increased value of poultry manure; and reduced litter treatment and feed additives.  Further, local manufacture of the new components will generate additional jobs in the area.

    This project competed nationally for funding and was one of 62 projects selected nationwide.  USDA Rural Development approved $500,000 for the poultry house project, making it the second-largest grant to be awarded from a total of $6,523,761 disbursed nationally. The total cost of the pilot project is estimated to be $3.3 million, and includes additional funding from UMES, the state's Department of Business and Economic Development, the Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program and other sources.

    "The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is utilizing $500,000 of its Agricultural Facility Enhancement Funds as its contribution to the initiative," said Dr. Thelma B. Thompson, president of UMES.

     "The Maryland Hawk Corporation/AviHome LLC pilot project will help create 13 jobs, but the indirect impact it could have on our local economy and, more broadly, on the region and our nation is staggering," said Daniel S. Kuennen, executive director of the Hawk Corporation. "The development and retention of the poultry industry in our region is a major goal of the corporation."


    Kat Harting, media specialist, UMES Department of Agriculture, 410-651-6084,

    Contact: Suzanne Waters Street, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355,