On Sun. June 5, 34 students from 23 countries flocked to the Aviagen® 53rd annual Production Management School in Huntsville, Ala., U.S., as they prepared for a future of success in the global poultry industry. Four weeks later on Thurs., June 30, Aviagen graduated these same students, but with one difference. They now have been schooled in the latest innovations in poultry science, as well as proven best practices for successful broiler and breeder management. Participants from five continents made the trek to Huntsville for the school, which is the first and longest-running of its kind in the global poultry industry.
Curriculum of rigorous learning
Throughout the month students benefited from advice and instruction offered by more than 40 experts from Aviagen, the poultry industry and academia. These experts will serve as resources for students to reach out to when they return to their daily jobs. The course maintained a rigorous pace and comprehensive format of nearly 75 lectures, hands-on workshops, labs and production facility visits. In addition to learning to optimize poultry performance through proven management techniques, students were immersed in lessons on poultry nutrition, hatchery practices, veterinary science and genetic selection. The curriculum was designed for Aviagen’s customers and their employees, who include veterinarians, production managers, hatchery specialists and a host of other professions encompassed by the broad poultry industry. “As long as customers buy breeding stock from us, we are dedicated to helping them make the most of their flocks. The annual Production Management School is an ideal forum for accomplishing this goal,” says school Director Mark Wright. “The Production Management School combines theory with hands-on training in today’s most successful poultry management practices. Our wish is that students employ the knowledge and insights gained from the school to improve their performance and productivity back home.” Wright adds that Aviagen is committed to continue the school for decades to come. The school is a major part of Aviagen’s customer service training portfolio, and Aviagen staff works throughout the year to improve the experience for future students.
Top achievers of 2016 Aviagen Production Management School
The four-week school culminated with a dinner on June 30, honoring the 2016 graduates, as well as the school’s top three achievers:
United Nations of Poultry
“The Production Management School was like the United Nations of poultry, with so many diverse nationalities represented. Together we gained not only invaluable theory, but also practical experience in topics like basic brooding in a reallife setting. However, it was as much about the people as it was about poultry. Given the intimate setting of the school, I felt like I was back at the university, and I even showed my classmates how to do laundry, a necessary skill during the month-long class,” says student Zain Randhawa from Hitech Poultry Breeders in Pakistan. First-place achiever Hugo Urso from BRF in Brazil shared similar sentiments concerning the school. “It provided a special opportunity to team up with colleagues in the industry from other countries and together participate in a learning experience that will enhance my contribution to the Brazilian poultry industry.”
Team-building among customers
During their downtime on the weekends, students were engaged in relationship-promoting activities such as zip lining at picturesque Red Mountain Park in Birmingham, Ala.; white water rafting on the Ocoee River in Ocoee, Tenn., and touring Ruby Falls and Rock City in Chattanooga, Tenn. They also participated in various other team-building exercises that stimulated a sense of camaraderie between them. The events and exercises were designed to foster bonding and collaboration among Aviagen customers.
Innovation in learning
In keeping with Aviagen’s commitment to innovative learning and sustainability, attendees were provided Apple® iPad Mini™ tablets. The tablets were pre-loaded with content essential for the information-packed program, which students took home to use their stores of course material, handouts and documentation as a daily reference. Another way Aviagen takes advantage of innovation in learning is to use video conferencing system for school speakers who cannot be present in the classroom.
Five-decade Production Management School history
The Aviagen Production Management School has grown in size and scope over the years. Since it was founded in 1964 as the Arbor Acres® Production Management School, more than 1,500 poultry professionals representing 62 countries have successfully completed the program. In addition, beginning in 2012 Aviagen developed a similar Production Management School in Europe. The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Production Management School is held in the fall of each year in Edinburgh, Scotland, and satellite schools are also held throughout the world.