Anthony (Tony) Pescatore is an Extension Professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at the University of Kentucky. Tony specializes in poultry and has been with UK for more than 30 years. Poultry is a major contributor to the Kentucky economy. A 2012 economic study reported that the Kentucky chicken meat and egg industries employ as many as 4,890 people across the state and generate an additional 15,780 jobs in companies that supply goods and services to the industry. On average, the jobs pay $41,100 in wages and benefits. The total economic impact of the Kentucky poultry industries is $3.30 billion annually. The chicken meat and egg industries generate important tax revenues. In Kentucky the poultry industries and their employees pay about $165.8 million in federal taxes and $88.32 million in state and local taxes annually.
Tony played a major role in the development of the chicken meat and egg industries in Kentucky, negotiating with the chicken meat integrators, the state of Kentucky and local governments. There are now six chicken meat integrators in the state as well as a major egg production facility.
With the development of the chicken meat industry in Kentucky several hundred new contract growers were required. Tony developed an Extension program to train new growers. Included in his program was the development of a series of videotapes that introduced farmers to broiler management. The videos have been used extensively in Kentucky and were adopted by other states that were expanding their poultry industries.
Once the commercial poultry industries were established, Tony developed an Extension program to sustain the industry through the various economic, environmental and social challenges. The papers that Tony co-authored on the level of greenhouse gas emissions from poultry facilities have been used to set EPA emission guidelines. A recent grant funded the Poultry House Evaluation System which evaluated energy usage in broiler houses and the best opportunities for reducing energy costs. Tony works closely with the Kentucky Poultry Federation and Egg Council in addressing issues. Tony played a major role in the development of a reaction plan in the case of an avian influenza in the state, a plan which was put into operation a couple of years ago when a single farm tested positive for low pathogenic avian influenza. Currently the Kentucky Department of Agriculture is working on the development of animal welfare guidelines for food animals and Tony is working closely with the industry providing input.
Tony has had a global impact on the poultry industry giving presentations on animal well-being, environmental concerns, food safety and other poultry-related issues, at the state, national and international level. He is involved in regional research projects related to environmental protection. Tony has served on review panels for the EPA and FDA.
In addition to his Extension program, Tony has developed a strong applied research program. His research has focused on the impact of poultry production on the environment and nutritional modifications to reduce this impact.
Tony has a real passion for the youth in Kentucky and has played a major role in the development of 4-H, FFA and ‘Incubators in the classroom’ programs. He developed the Luv an Egg program for use in elementary schools. Tony coordinates the state 4-H poultry-related conferences; the Avian Bowl, Poultry Judging, Egg Preparation Demonstration and the Chicken and Turkey Barbecue contests. He then helps the top seniors in each contest prepare for the national contests.