American Humane Certifies First University Research Facility, Major Producer

California’s Fresno State and Foster Farms receive American Humane Certification, acknowledging their commitment to safe and humane poultry care.

by Dani Yokhna
Poultry producer Foster Farms helped California State University, Fresno, build an American Humane Certified poultry research facility. Photo by Cary Edmondson/California State University, Fresno (
Courtesy Cary Edmondson, California State University, Fresno
Poultry producer Foster Farms helped California State University, Fresno, build an American Humane Certified poultry research facility.

Last week, California State University, Fresno, President John D. Welty joined Foster Farms CEO Ron Foster and others today for the dedication of the Foster Farms Poultry Education and Research Facility, a unit of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences. The poultry facility is the nation’s first to receive certification from American Humane Association, an organization dedicated to preventing abuse of children, pets and farm animals.

The 16,320-square-foot building houses an eco-friendly research and training center that replicates professional poultry production for more than 500 students in the Animal Sciences and Agricultural Education department. It features advanced temperature control, monitoring and feed-delivery systems.

The building was made possible by a gift from Foster Farms, a Central California-based poultry producer and one of the state’s top producers of chicken and turkey. Coinciding with the opening of the Fresno State poultry facility, Foster Farms announced its American Humane Certification, making it the first major chicken producer to receive the seal. The poultry producer contributed the engineering, design and construction of the poultry facility and will also provide ongoing program support.

“The partnership with Foster Farms opened the door to this extraordinary facility where students will learn best practices and work with faculty to conduct research to advance poultry science and the future of the industry,” Welty says.

American Humane’s farm-animal-welfare certification program was the first of its kind to classify standards for the humane treatment of farm animals. Developed in 2000, the American Humane Certified program now works with more than 100 major producers, representing approximately 7,000 farms. It is the United States’ first independent, third-party humane-certification program for farm animals.

“While the actual certification is a new development for us, our commitment to raising chickens humanely has always been important to our company,” says Ron Foster, Foster Farms CEO. “It is the right thing to do for our birds and we know that it is important to consumers.”

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Charles Boyer, PhD, dean of the Jordan College, says AHA certification speaks to Fresno State’s commitment to providing pioneering education in animal sciences.

“Our students graduate with a deep understanding of the importance of animal welfare,” he says. “This new facility aligns perfectly with the values of our program while enabling students to gain hands-on experiences that will prepare them for jobs in one of the fastest growing fields in agriculture.”

The Foster Farms Poultry Education and Research Facility is located on the Fresno State farm in Fresno, Calif. The addition of the poultry facility at Fresno State builds upon a longtime relationship with Foster Farms. The company actively recruits Fresno State graduates and has a steady base of students participate in the company’s internship program each year.

Read about other farm-product certifications and labels. »


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