<OL><LI>Extension objective - to implement a best management practices program on broiler breeder farms with the intention of reducing Salmonella prevalence. <LI>Research objective - to determine whether producers comply with recommended management changes and whether these changes are effective in decreasing the prevalence of Salmonella.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Salmonella causes an estimated 1.4 million illnesses and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year, with consumption of undercooked poultry products being a recognized risk factor for foodborne outbreaks of salmonellosis. Despite considerable efforts to control Salmonella contamination during the processing and packaging of poultry products, the number of whole chicken carcasses identified by USDA as containing Salmonella has increased during recent years. Consequently, efforts to decrease the prevalence of Salmonella infection on the farm, before birds are sent to the processing plant, are warranted. There are many potential sources of Salmonella for poultry including the farm environment, feed, and the parental flocks. Although numerous management practices have been identified as risk factors, it is not known whether the industry would be willing or able to change these practices and whether altering management would actually be effective in decreasing the prevalence of Salmonella infection. This study seeks to address those questions and will help determine whether a best management practices approach for on-farm Salmonella control can be feasible and effective at the broiler breeder level. <P>APPROACH: Extension personnel with expertise in broiler breeder management will systematically assess existing practices on approximately 60 breeder farms by completing a management practices inventory. They will then make management recommendations to producers, and will collect drag swabs and litter samples to assess the prevalence of Salmonella in the farm environment. Follow-up visits will be conducted 6-12 months later (after placement of the subsequent flock) and the management practices inventory will be repeated to determine whether producers complied with the previous recommendations. Environmental sampling will also be repeated and data will be analyzed to quantitatively assess the relationship between compliance and the change in Salmonella prevalence.