March 13, 2023


USDA-NIFA allocates US$5 million to fund research into AI and robotic in poultry processing



The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded four higher institutions a US$5 million grant to find research into the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and advance robotics in poultry processing, Georgia Tech reported.


The grant will be used to establish the Center for Scalable and Intelligent Automation in Poultry Processing, led by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and joined by researchers from Georgia Tech, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Fort Valley State University in Georgia, in efforts to adapt robotic automation to chicken meat processing.


Douglas Britton, manager of the Agricultural Technology Research Program at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), said the ultimate objective of the project is to use automation, robotics, AI, and virtual reality technologies to spur transformational innovation in the poultry and meat processing sector.


Jeyam Subbiah, professor and head of the food science department for the Division of Agriculture and the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas, and director of the project, said Georgia Tech is a significant partner in the project and has been given US$2 million to concentrate on automating the lines used to process chickens into meat. The grant has a four-year term.


The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the Division of Agriculture, will receive US$2.2 million from the grant primarily to work on poultry processing plant food safety automation.


Brou Kuoakou, associate dean for research at Fort Valley State University in Georgia, and Julia McQuillan, Willa Cather professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, will share the remaining grant funds.


Subbiah said USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist Jeff Buhr will use his knowledge of broiler physiology to direct robotic meat deboning.


Georgia produces the most broilers in the US. According to USDA data for 2021, Arkansas is the third highest producer.


-      Georgia Tech

Video >

Follow Us