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December 18, 2019

House of Raeford Farms Supports Chicken Nuggets on Mars

A fifth grader today will graduate from college in 2030. This is around the time that at least four private
companies as well as NASA and others plan to land the first humans on Mars. Over the course of their
careers, today’s elementary and middle school students could even see permanent colonies of humans
living on other planets. The global human population may reach 11 billion people. If the U. S. is going to
meet likely food production challenges caused by these changes, we need to inspire future food
producers and scientists so they are prepared to lead.

Nuggets on Mars is a project made possible by a grant from the National Institute for Food and
Agriculture (USDA-NIFA 2019-68010-29117) and represents a partnership between the North Carolina
Farm Bureau Ag in The Classroom and the NC State Prestage Department of Poultry Science. The
curriculum challenges science teachers at four North Carolina schools to lead their sixth grade students
along a path to discover what we can do today to prepare for the future. Will we be able to survive on
Mars? Where will our food come from?

Rose Hill-Magnolia Elementary school (RHM), one of the four selected schools for this program, is
actually located within walking distance of a House of Raeford Farms chicken hatchery and very near to
a feed mill, processing plant, and a large number of chicken broiler farms. When Ms. Tanya Novakowski,
sixth grade science teacher at the school reached out to House of Raeford, we quickly got involved. The
hatchery, producing 1.6 million chicks weekly, offers regular tours throughout the school year to
STEAMA (Science, Technology, Arts, Math, Engineering, and Agriculture) students participating in the
Nuggets on Mars program. Our corporate veterinarian, Shannon Jennings, has already made a trip to
the RHM classroom, educating the young people on all aspects of raising chickens from breeder hens to
the hatchery to the family farm.

Students are amazingly creative in their approach to this research. Teams are examining what would life
be like on Mars; how can they get the chickens to Mars and how will they need to adapt the space
vehicle to carry live birds; what will farming be like on Mars to support the production of chickens and
plants for food; and so much more. Many questions to stimulate these young minds.
Stay current with the progress of Ms. Novakowski’s class in completing their adventure by checking their
Mission Log at https://sites.google.com/duplinschools.net/ms-novakowski/mission-log. In addition, you
may follow along on Twitter @NuggetsOnMars or at http://www.kocilab.com/nuggets-on-mars.
We are excited to know that the future recipe for chicken nuggets will be out of this world!



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