UACES Facebook Arkansas engineering faculty member recognized for outreach to aid poultry sustainability efforts
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Feb. 10, 2023

Arkansas engineering faculty member recognized for outreach to aid poultry sustainability efforts

By Jessica Wesson
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts

  • Yi Liang awarded John W. White Outstanding Extension State Faculty Award
  • Liang’s extension work focuses on improving poultry production efficiency, sustainability
  • Program evaluates solar energy and water efficiency efforts for broiler operations

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Download a photo of Liang receiving the award

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Yi Liang, associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering, was recognized on Jan. 13 for her outreach efforts to assist the poultry industry in solving its biggest challenges.

Yi Liang accepts faculty award.
FACULTY AWARD — Yi Liang, center, accepts the John W. White Outstanding Extension State Faculty award from Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service Director Bob Scott, left, and Vice President of Agriculture Deacue Fields. (U of A System Division of Ag photo by Fred Miller)

Liang received the John W. White Outstanding Extension State Faculty award during the annual Agriculture Awards ceremony held last month.

As an affiliated faculty member with the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, Liang conducts outreach and research efforts for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture through its two arms — the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service and the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. Liang also works with biological and agricultural engineering students through the University of Arkansas’ College of Engineering.

Liang’s research and extension efforts focus on finding practical ways to improve poultry production efficiency and sustainability.

“My applied research and extension program provides timely technical assistance to poultry producers, integrators, industry personnel, extension agents, and others,” Liang said. “I focus on improving poultry production efficiency by improving air quality, reducing farm energy and water usage and evaluating renewable energy applications.”

Liang said she strives to make sure her information reaches every corner of the state. Her team utilizes web content, press releases, videos, extension agent trainings and workshops.

Liang said she was proud to be the recipient of the award.

“I was very grateful for being nominated and selected by my peers for this award,” Liang said. “I feel honored to be part of the team that dedicates our effort to improve economic status and quality of life for Arkansans.”

Lalit Verma, professor and department head of biological and agricultural engineering, nominated Liang for the award because of her service to the poultry industry.

“Dr. Liang has been a diligent and hardworking engineer committed to serving the poultry industry,” Verma said. “She is a thorough, team-spirited and sincere faculty member, not only contributing to the extension mission but also to research through relevant and useful work. She has also contributed to our department’s teaching programs. I nominated her because of her consistent, longstanding and superior engineering contributions to the poultry enterprise.”

Tom Tabler, professor and poultry extension specialist at the University of Tennessee, worked with Liang during his time with the University of Arkansas System.

“Dr. Liang is well known and respected by the Arkansas poultry industry and by many individual poultry producers across the state,” Tabler wrote in a nomination letter. “Her work with air quality, energy audits, poultry litter, vegetative shelterbelts, solar energy and sprinkler cooling systems for broiler chickens are just a few of the areas that have made her such a valuable asset to the poultry industry, poultry producers, county agents and the University of Arkansas.”

Tabler said that Liang’s ability to communicate has helped her find success.

“She is an excellent researcher, but more importantly, she can take research findings and disseminate the information to clientele in an unbiased, understandable format that is easy for them to comprehend, accept and put to use in their daily lives,” he wrote.

Walter Bottje, professor of poultry science with the experiment station, said Liang’s expertise was instrumental in being awarded a nearly $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The grant project focuses on empowering the U.S. broiler industry for sustainability.

“This comprehensive grant required that all three arms of the land grant mission be represented,” Bottje wrote in a nomination letter. “Dr. Liang’s work with a commercial sprinkling (surface wetting) system has demonstrated that the amount of water used in cooling broiler houses can be reduced by 50-60% compared to conventional evaporative cooling systems while maintaining growth performance.”

David Caldwell, department head of the department of poultry science and director of the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, said Liang was a deserving recipient of the award.

“I was thrilled to see Dr. Liang receive this recognition,” Caldwell said. “Even though Yi is administratively located in biological and agricultural engineering, we consider her to be one of us, and we are very fortunate to have her as an affiliated faculty member in the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science. It is very fitting to see her receive this award for her commitment to working with poultry integrators and growers across the entire state.”

Liang joined the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture in 2007. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Beijing Agriculture University in China. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Alberta, Canada.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture. For more information about Bumpers College, visit our website, and follow us on Twitter at @BumpersCollege and Instagram at BumpersCollege.


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Media Contact:
Jessica Wesson
Center of Excellence for Poultry Science