An educational facility that opened on a Georgia poultry farm this week aims to create a transparent, interactive experience for the public to learn about various aspects of poultry farming and proper animal care. Called the Poultry Learning Center, the facility was set up at Cooley Farms, founded in 1985 by Larry and Terri Cooley in Roberta, Georgia.
Built seamlessly into the side of a working chicken house, the learning center includes a large viewing room that allows guests to observe the birds undisturbed in their environment. Educational videos explain what visitors see inside the chicken house, as well as the timeline from when farmers receive the birds to how they raise and care for them while they’re on the farm. Additionally, guests have the opportunity for hands-on learning using actual poultry equipment that replicates what they see through the window including mechanized feeders and waterers, and automated temperature control technology.
The Cooleys, a multi-generation farm family, have been raising poultry for Perdue Farms since 2004 and are the second Perdue farm family to install a viewing room at their farm.
“We’ve hosted field trips and tours for years and always loved sharing what we’re so proud to do every day. Our new viewing room and learning center will allow us to host even more students, educators, city and state leaders, media, and any others interested in learning about agriculture and raising animals,” Terri Cooley said.
“There’s a lot of bad information out there about animal agriculture. We want to help people understand where their food comes from and how our animals are raised, and openly discuss any misconceptions they might have,” said Cooley Farms co-owner and operator, Leighton Cooley.
During a celebration at the farm to officially open the new facility, the Cooley family hosted more than 100 guests for inaugural tours, highlighted key partners who helped make the project possible, and welcomed speakers including Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, American Farm Bureau Federation executive director of industry relations Sarah Brown Dirkes, president of the Georgia Poultry Federation Mike Giles, and Perdue Farms chairman Jim Perdue.