Published on 12/27/15

UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences hires Purdue University researcher to head Department of Poultry Science

By Merritt Melancon

Todd Applegate, associate head of the Department of Animal Sciences at Indiana’s Purdue University, has been tapped to lead the University of Georgia’s Department of Poultry Science. He will take the helm starting on Jan. 8.

Applegate, who has worked as a poultry researcher at Purdue since 2000, has a strong background in the Cooperative Extension System, research and instruction as well as a successful record of integrating the three.

“Our century-old poultry science program is the largest and one of the most prestigious programs of its kind in the country,” said Josef Broder, interim dean and director of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, which houses the poultry science department. “We are glad to have someone with Todd’s breadth of understanding and experience leading the department.”

Applegate received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science from Iowa State University before pursuing his doctoral degree in animal science from Ohio State University and graduating in 1999.

He will replace Mike Lacy, current department head, who is retiring this year after 30 years at UGA.

The UGA Department of Poultry Science is home to 17 full-time faculty members who are studying a range of topics, from nutrient management and chicken physiology to genetics and flock health. The department is seen as an international leader in poultry research, hosting hundreds of international visitors every year for workshops and collaborative projects. In addition, the department serves as a key resource for Georgia’s poultry producers.

Georgia is the largest producer of broiler chickens in the nation. The state’s broiler and egg production is worth about $5.5 billion annually. Indiana is the third largest producer of turkeys and eggs in the nation, and its poultry industry is valued at about $4.25 billion annually, according to the Indiana State Poultry Association.

At Purdue, Applegate led a dedicated team of poultry nutrition researchers and fostered an environment that promoted collaborative study among these researchers and scientists across the nation and in many other countries.

He believes in an integrated approach to solving agricultural problems and has successfully merged the research of animal scientists, soil scientists, crop scientists, natural resources experts and economists into a large-scale inquiry into sustainable animal husbandry practices.

As head of the UGA Department of Poultry Science, Applegate wants to focus on recruiting and building teams of researchers who will support Georgia’s poultry industry and the research that will help feed the world as the global population grows.

To find out more about the Department of Poultry Science at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, visit

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

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