Poultry Industry News

New Instructors Cultivate Poultry Youth Programs

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences are taking steps to further connect the state’s youth with the thriving Arkansas poultry industry.

The Department of Poultry Science recently hired two new poultry science instructors, hoping to bolster statewide recruiting efforts.

Andrew Bolton

Andrew Bolton joined the Cooperative Extension Service, the outreach and education arm of the Division of Agriculture, as an instructor in November 2023. In his new role, Bolton manages poultry youth activities across the state through 4-H and similar poultry youth programs. 4-H is designed to prepare young people to meet the challenges in their communities and provide youth with the skills to lead for a lifetime. 

 “Andrew has an impressive background as a high school ag teacher and Pulaski County extension agent. Both experiences have prepared him well for this role in our program,” said David Caldwell, poultry science department head and director of the Center for Excellence for Poultry Science.

Bolton’s duties include coordinating the 4-H Poultry Chain distribution, conducting the 4-H poultry BBQ contests, poultry judging contests and assisting with in-school poultry projects.

“This is a vitally important position for stakeholders and youth throughout the state, and we clearly expect that Andrew’s leadership of these programs will allow them to be impactful and productive,” Caldwell added. “We are very glad he decided to join our program, and I look forward to working with him in the coming months and years.”

Bolton said he is excited to be part of a program that gave him his start in agriculture.

“I got my start in agriculture raising broilers for the state fair and judging poultry in FFA, so it’s exciting to get back to having a hands-on role in those events,” he said.

Bolton received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural education from the University of Arkansas.

Joshua Gilstrap

Joshua Gilstrap joined the department on Jan.1. He is responsible for student recruitment and retention in the academic department for Bumpers College.

“Having a robust undergraduate enrollment is very important for assisting our industry stakeholders with employment and staffing needs,” Caldwell said. “We are confident that Josh’s approach will allow us to meet our enrollment goals as a department.”

Gilstrap will work alongside Arkansas FFA and agriculture education teachers to conduct poultry judging contests and workshops for students. His other duties include high school visits, hosting prospective students on campus and developing the University of Arkansas Poultry Judging Team.

“He’s had a distinguished career as an agricultural education teacher in eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas, and he has extensive experiences with FFA programs with a specific emphasis on poultry CDE competitions like poultry judging,” Caldwell said. “Josh’s main responsibilities involve directing programs for new undergraduate student recruitment. His experience leading high school FFA programs makes him uniquely qualified for this role with us, and we are already seeing new momentum within our recruitment program.”

Gilstrap said he is eager to give back to the poultry industry because of its impact on his life.

“As an agricultural teacher, I always enjoyed training teams and teaching about the poultry industry,” Gilstrap said. “I am excited to continue to help the next generation learn and grow into the industry leaders of the future.”

Gilstrap received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Arkansas and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Southern Nazarene University.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit https://uada.edu/. 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. The Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service.

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 to all eligible persons 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.

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