New poultry extension specialist brings love of teaching to Arkansas

By Jessica Wesson, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Poultry science extension specialist Zac Williams is passionate about education, both in the poultry house and in the classroom.

“I enjoy teaching, whether that be through extension programming or in the classroom,” Williams said. “Being able to relay knowledge from the scientific community to producers and students makes me feel like I’m making a difference.”

POULTRY SCIENCE — Zac Williams, poultry science extension specialist and assistant professor, is a new faculty member with the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science. (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo)

Williams joined the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science and poultry science department as an assistant professor in June. In his new role, Williams provides poultry education and outreach through the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, with a focus on connecting with the commercial poultry industry in Arkansas.

“We are very excited to have Dr. Zac Williams join the faculty in the Department of Poultry Science and Center of Excellence for Poultry Science,” said David Caldwell, poultry science department head and director of the Center for Excellence for Poultry Science. “Thus far in Zac’s career, he has worked closely with the commercial industry in Tennessee and Michigan. We fully expect that he will develop strong relationships with our industry stakeholders here in Arkansas.”

Williams also conducts research for the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and will teach through the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. The extension service and experiment station are the outreach and research arms of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. The Division of Agriculture, with the Bumpers College, provides the traditional land grant triad of teaching, outreach and research.

“We look forward to working with Zac as he develops strong, industry-focused research, teaching and outreach programs here,” Caldwell said.

Focus on producers

Williams’ research program will focus on how producers respond to animal diseases coming from outside the United States. He wants to find ways to improve depopulation and composting in affected flocks. His research also includes investigating litter management practices for improved microbial community development and developing on-farm tools that can quickly identify bacterial species.

“I’m really excited about working with the team of faculty, staff and students in the poultry science department and the university and seeing where I can fit in and contribute,” Williams said. “I’m also excited about being so close to a large percentage of poultry production and the challenges and opportunities that will arise.”

Williams received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in poultry science from Mississippi State University. He earned a Ph.D. in poultry science from Auburn University.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.