Arkansas agriculture researchers get $1M grant to study robot aided poultry processing

This file photo of a commercial poultry house at the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station's Savoy Research Complex shows 21-day-old broiler chickens. (Special to The Commercial/Fred Miller/University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture)

Researchers from the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station of the the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture have received a $1 million grant to research and develop robots to assist in poultry processing, according to a Friday news release.

The project’s principal investigator is Dongyi Wang, assistant professor of biological and agricultural engineering. He’ll be assisted by Wan Shou assistant professor of engineering at the university, along with industrial engineering professor Yu She at Perdue University.

The project is funded by the National Science Foundation’s National Robotics Initiative 3.0 and the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

“We are trying to explore the opportunities and to see how automation can help the agriculture industry and the food industry,” Wang said in a statement.

The four-year project aims to develop a robotic system to hang raw chicken, one of the few steps in modern poultry processing that’s not automated and requires human workers, according to the release.

The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station’s Casey Owens, Novus International professor of poultry science, and Philip Crandall, professor of food science, will assist with the research.