Extension offers online session on backyard poultry production amid COVID-19

Interest in producing food at home increases as COVID-19 raises food scarcity concerns

chickens in a field

Extension is offering an online discussion, “Backyard Poultry Production,” at 10 a.m., May 12 to help those raising, or wanting to raise, poultry. Photo by Melody Hefner, Extension.

Extension offers online session on backyard poultry production amid COVID-19

Interest in producing food at home increases as COVID-19 raises food scarcity concerns

Extension is offering an online discussion, “Backyard Poultry Production,” at 10 a.m., May 12 to help those raising, or wanting to raise, poultry. Photo by Melody Hefner, Extension.

chickens in a field

Extension is offering an online discussion, “Backyard Poultry Production,” at 10 a.m., May 12 to help those raising, or wanting to raise, poultry. Photo by Melody Hefner, Extension.

With the scarcity of some foods in local markets, and the future supply of others being in question, more and more people are interested in producing some of their own food, including eggs and meat. University of Nevada, Reno Extension is offering a free online discussion and question-and-answer session on “Backyard Poultry Production” Tuesday, May 12, 10-11:30 a.m. PST.

The main speaker will be Brett Kreifels, Extension’s urban program coordinator in Nebraska, and head of the 4-H Program in Nebraska’s Douglas and Sarpy Counties. Kreifels’ grandfather owned a hatchery, and Kreifels raised and showed poultry as a youth participating in 4-H. He studied animal science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and continued to earn a master’s degree, focusing on poultry husbandry and nutrition. He is involved in several poultry groups and associations and frequently judges at poultry shows and fairs.

In addition, Brenda Freeman, professor of counseling and educational psychology in the College of Education and Extension specialist at the University of Nevada, Reno, will be on hand to offer guidance and resources for participants who may be stressed or concerned about our country’s food supply, agriculture industry and production, or other issues amid the COVID-19 crisis. Freeman has over 30 years of experience in the field of counseling.

The session is part of online series, “Agriculture: Living Beyond a Pandemic,” being put together by Lindsay Chichester, Extension educator in Douglas County, Nevada. Known as “Dr. Lindsay” to many in the country’s agriculture industry and on social media, Chichester understands farming and ranch life, growing up on a cattle and sheep ranch in northern California, and going on to earn a master’s degree in animal science and a doctorate in agricultural sciences. Lindsay said that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential for scarcity of some foods has become a concern for many.

“Even before the pandemic, there was growing interest in producing our own food in our backyards and communities, as part of the ‘local food’ movement,” Chichester said. “But now, COVID-19 has really caused that interest to skyrocket. In addition to wanting to know how to grow their own vegetables and fruits, people also want to know more about raising poultry for eggs and meat.”

Chichester said that she hopes that what people learn in this will be used to enrich their lives well after the pandemic has passed.

“There is great satisfaction in growing and raising your own food,” she said. “You not only know that you will have a supply of food, you also know where it came from and how it was raised. So, you know it is safe to eat.”

Chichester said that the Backyard Poultry Production session, as well as the other sessions, are offered online via Facebook Live and Zoom. Chichester opens each session with a brief introduction about the session’s topic, followed by a presentation and questions from participants.

Future session topics include:

  • May 19 – Pork Industry Update
  • May 26 – Dairy: Milk Dumping and National Dairy Month

The Facebook Live link for the May 12 session and details on future "Agriculture: Living Beyond a Pandemic" sessions will be posted on the series website. For more information, email Chichester  or call 775-782-9960 (leave a message and she will call you back).

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