The Mid Atlantic Poultry Farmer a supplement to the Delmarva Farmer

Moyle’s international trips open new opportunities

Managing Editor

SALISBURY, Md. (July 4, 2017) — After tornadoes ultimately ended his farming career, Dr. Jon Moyle, University of Maryland Extension poultry specialist, at age 40, went back to school for his PhD.
During that period, his advisor was due to start a breeding project in Kenya but was unable to go and enlisted Moyle to go instead.
“That’s what got me hooked,” Moyle said, who makes two or three international aid trips per year to impoverished countries, helping people to learn how to raise chickens or raise them better. “I believe we’re very blessed and we need to help those that are struggling.”
The trips are funded by U.S. Agency for International Devleopment, through a non-governmental organization, Moyle said, with the goal “to empower small farmers so they can increase their income and move up out of poverty.”
He said many of his 10-13-day trips place him at orphanages to set up either a small broiler or egg laying operation the children can manage.
“You have an adult there but the kids are responsible for it. I think it’s brilliant,” he said. “If they learn how to raise chickens, when they leave the orphanage, they’ll actually have a skill.”
Having a meat or egg supply also improves nutrition, especially brain development in the youngest children, Moyle said, along with helping them become more self-sufficient.
The poultry housing and equipment doesn’t come close to resembling what contract growers on Delmarva use, and Moyle said the trips involve a lot of quick thinking to get the project done with the resources available.
“The science is the same but you’ve got to adapt it to their ability and the situation,” he said. “The important thing is to get them to understand they don’t have to have the top of the line but it’s something to work toward.”
Moyle said a big point of education is using good biosecurity practices including isolating birds and using good breeding stock.
It’s good for them, keeping the birds healthier, but good in general to reduce disease traveling from one area to another or even to the United States.
“If we can help reduce the spread in other parts of the world, we can keep it from coming here,” he said.
Moyle said during one trip in Guinea, there were two groups of people each with their own flock of chickens and each suffering from about a 50-percent mortality rate.
One group agreed to put in place Moyle’s suggestions for biosecuity, the other did not.
The group that employed Moyle’s suggestions saw mortality drop to 5 percent and the other group’s stayed the same.
“It was the biggest teachable moment ever,” Moyle said.
Moyle said with the technology and scale now involved in contract growing chickens, there aren’t many parallels with the work he does overseas but said there are tips he shares between backyard flock owners on Delmarva and the various countries he visits.
“It’s fantastic to see the ingenuity they have over there. You see techniques they’re doing that you can do here and you take some of what they do here over there,” he said.
Along with Guinea and Kenya, Moyle has traveled to Myanmar, Banglagesh, Liberia and Senegal.
His next trip is set for Ethiopia in August.