Not chickenfeed

October 15, 2012 

It is, as a news story last week reported, one of N.C. State University’s smallest departments, and it’s getting one of the biggest gifts yet made to the university.

The Department of Poultry Science, with about 75 undergraduate students, is the recipient of a substantial $10 million donation from Prestage Farms of Clinton. The money, an endowment, will fund a named professorship and other continuing enhancements to the department, which will bear the Prestage family name.

Though the department is small – and similar units at other land-grant universities have been closed – poultry remains a big deal in North Carolina, which is currently No. 2 nationally in turkey production and also in “all poultry and eggs – cash receipts.”

Prestage Farms, and the poultry industry generally, obviously have an interest in the research and the graduates that the department produces. For N.C. State, the challenge will be to conduct the now-named department’s affairs in a way that is genuinely independent, academically strong, useful to the state and open to competing views.

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