Prior to his 10 years of experience in agriculture, Scott Carter obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in Nutrition and Biotechnology from North Carolina State University. His research at NCSU focused on the discovery of a novel enzyme, its production and scale up via fermentation, and the application of this enzyme to poultry diets to improve protein digestibility and utilization.
After completing his degree, Dr. Carter obtained international experience in the areas of agricultural sales, sales management, technical support, and brand management. Dr. Carter has had extensive experience with poultry, swine, and ruminant nutrition and commercial production. Since joining Novus in September of 2007 Dr. Carter has been the product manager for Novus’ Antioxidant line and currently is in the role of Global Poultry Market Manager.
Q: How has the poultry industry responded to consumers’ increasing concerns over food safety?
A: This is certainly a touchy issue as the specter of food safety, whether deserved or not, tends to point a finger at our industry. I think that it is quite telling that the majority of food safety issues experienced in the last few years have had more to do with products like peanuts and spinach than they have had to do with poultry. More than anything this shows that the poultry industry has come a long way in improving their discipline and effectiveness when it comes to food safety issues. HACCP programs are in place, discipline at the processing plants have improved, testing and monitoring programs are in place, and overall as an industry we’ve come quite a long way in the last five years.
The next “frontier” if you will, in food safety programs for the poultry industry is likely to happen at the farm level. When you look at regulations in Europe, they are beginning to implement requirements for pathogen control all the way back through the food chain to the farm, dictating another wave of major changes. Once again this will make things difficult for our industry, but once again I am sure that they will continue to adapt and move forward.
Q: Has the poultry industry taken steps towards sustainability?
A: The poultry industry, by its very nature, is possibly the most sustainable sector of meat production. Through the efficient use and conversion of feed into poultry meat, the poultry industry achieves the lowest cost of meat production among all sectors, can offer the most affordable meat products, and is the most flexible due to the short production cycle in matching production to customer demand. In many ways this is the very definition of sustainability and meets the “three pillars” demanded of sustainability; economic, social, and environmental sustainability.
Through intensification and efficiency the poultry industry is meeting the definition of economic sustainability because it is very efficiently and cost-effectively producing food for people when compared with other meat products. We produce twice the chicken on half the feed that we did a few short years ago, and as countries around the world modernize their poultry production, they are able to stretch their feed further than ever before to feed their hungry populations. Our industry certainly meets the social sustainability criteria because again, we produce affordable high quality protein for hungry people around the world. The first protein that people add to their diet as their incomes improve is eggs, the second is poultry meat, and they do this because these are the most affordable and readily available protein sources around the world. Finally, our industry works very hard to meet the third pillar, environmental sustainability. Through the use of advanced tools, management practices, nutritional programs, and emerging waste management practices, the poultry industry is better now then it ever has been. To further continue down this road of sustainability I think the poultry industry will continue to do what it has done for the last 50 years, and that is to continue to become even more efficient, more cost effective, and to do more with less than ever.
Q: What effect has the current economic climate had on the poultry industry?
A: For the reasons mentioned above, the poultry industry is in the best position to deal with the economic climate that we have seen in the last year. Poultry meat and eggs are relatively cheap and haven’t seen the drops in consumption globally that we’ve seen for pork and beef products. Producing poultry is the most efficient use of your feed dollar, so they’ve been relatively buffered from feed costs. The feed cost issues have certainly hurt; but they haven’t hurt the poultry industry as much as other animal production systems.
Finally, the poultry industry, due to their short adjustment cycle on production capacity, can take excess production out or bring new production on-line in a very short period of time, adjusting to market forces much more quickly than other producers. Overall, while recent economic drivers have been difficult for everyone, they’ve been less difficult on the poultry industry, and this same industry is perhaps uniquely poised to take advantage of a future recovery.