Aviagen® recently welcomed three young Canadian farmers to its global headquarters in Huntsville and surrounding locations, offering them a glimpse of the world’s most advanced poultry-breeding operations. Ranging in ages from 19 to 25, the young farmers were selected by the Canadian Broiler Hatching Egg Producers Association (CBHEPA) to participate in its Young Farmer program based on their desire to broaden their knowledge of the global hatching industry.
Started in 1996, the CBHEPA’s Young Farmer Program provides financial assistance for young Canadian farmers who are 18 years or older to participate in a tour of a leading-edge poultry breeding facility in another country. Candidates for the program must have less than 15 years of experience working in the hatching industry or work on the farm of a parent in the industry.
This year’s participants in the Young Farmer program included Paul James Groen of Freelton, Ontario; Rachel Jayne Malda of Barrhead, Alberta; and Mark Henricus Van Dieten of Bayfield, Ontario. Aviagen Canada’s Technical Manager Mark Belanger hosted the tours and meetings.
During their week-long visit, they explored critical topics with Aviagen experts, including biosecurity for disease prevention and food safety, production planning, shipping and export processes, Ross® brand broiler/breeder traits and development, and sustainability and animal welfare. They also toured the Aviagen egg depot, a farm in Elkmont, a hatchery in Talladega, and the research and development facility in Albertville, all in Alabama.
“The CBHEPA’s Young Farmer program provides an invaluable opportunity for up-and-coming professionals to investigate the multiple facets of the industry, the obstacles and issues it faces, as well as the advances it has made,” says Scott Gillingham, Canadian Regional Business Consultant for Aviagen. “Our goal was to expand the knowledge base of these young farmers, exposing them to a company that is committed not only to obtaining the highest possible product performance, but also to advancing the industry in the areas of disease prevention, animal welfare and environmental sustainability.”
Gillingham adds that hosting the Canadian Young Farmers was an enriching experience for Aviagen. “Groen, Malda and Van Dieten embody the creativity and energy of the people who will shape the poultry industry of tomorrow. It was a privilege to share our operations and exchange knowledge and ideas with these impressive emerging industry leaders.”