Campus: CPSU, San Luis Obispo -- December 13, 1999

Cal Poly-Raised Chickens Rated 'Best in State'

Chickens raised by Cal Poly students earned the best rating ever in the state of California, according to a set of criteria established by the leading poultry research and development company Cobb-Vantress Inc.

The flock of 7,000 chicks was student-raised on campus from hatchlings to full-grown chickens for Foster Farms, the largest poultry company in the Western United States, and was shipped to the company's Fresno processing facility.

Once there, the chickens were scored for quality according to what's known as the Cobb Score, a performance index that evaluates poultry at the processing stage on the basis of such factors as the amount of meat, how lean it is, and overall quality of the flock.

This year's winning score of 290.46 was the highest score ever recorded for the entire state of California.

This is not the first time Cal Poly student-raised chickens have received a Cobb Score honor. A previous score of 268 set a record for Foster Farms' Fresno processing facility.

"Our program is so hands-on it creates excellence," said poultry Professor Robert J. Spiller. "It's more than classroom and textbook -- it's real life. Through 'learn by doing,' our students get a jump-start in the industry since our entire facility is student-run and all our flocks are student-raised.

Foster Farms Live Production Manager Bob Cornell agreed with Spiller's assessment of Cal Poly's Poultry Program.

"I'm proud to be an alum and proud for the company and for the industry to have talented young people at Cal Poly doing these amazing things," Cornell said.

Steve Page of Foster Farms presented an award to the students and the Poultry Program at Cal Poly to commemorate the achievement.

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