Aviagen and Willmar Poultry have announced the establishment of Select Genetics. This new company will supply commercial genetics to the turkey industry. Aviagen is the majority owner of Select Genetics, which was formed through the merger of Valley of the Moon Commercial Poults (VOMCP) and Willmar Poultry/Ag Forte. Select Genetics will continue to execute and honor the obligations and agreements in place for both VOMCP and Willmar Poultry companies and their respective customers.

The new company will be headquartered in Willmar, Minn. Select Genetics is a new distinct business unit operating under the direction of Jihad Douglas as CEO. Rick Vanderspek is president, COO, chairman of the board and responsible for the day-to-day operations. He will report to Douglas.

Douglas commented, “VOMCP was formed in 2011 with the goal of supplying Nicholas genetics to turkey end users worldwide. We built a state-of-the-art hatchery in Osceola, Iowa, to be near many of our customers. We now need to expand our distribution channel to meet the growing demand for Nicholas turkeys throughout the U.S. The Willmar and Ag Forte assets in Virginia, Ohio, Missouri and Minnesota complement our infrastructure in North Carolina, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Iowa, which allows us to reach our goals faster and more efficiently.”


As president and COO of Select Genetics, Vanderspek brings 45 years of experience to the turkey breeding business. He noted, “The focus of Select Genetics will be to deliver the best quality genetics to the turkey industry, which will allow our industry to best compete against other animal proteins. I will devote 100% of my time and energy to serve the outstanding members of our combined team and the delivery of world-class products to our valued customers. Investments will be made to improve and upgrade the existing farms and hatcheries, while continuing to deliver innovations such as our patented SRP vaccines, which are additives to our distinguishing leadership in supplying leading turkey genetics.”

Immediately after signing the merger documents, the board of Directors of Select Genetics approved the capital to build a new single stage hatchery in Terre Haute, Ind., with completion expected to be in the spring of 2018. This is just the first step to upgrade Select Genetics’ infrastructure to meet the rising demand for Nicholas poults.

Douglas concluded, “Recent industry events accelerated Aviagen’s vision regarding our genetic supply chain. We are very excited about this new venture and the opportunity to combine our innovative companies. Select Genetics is positioned to deliver added value to our customers and to build on the relationship that George Nicholas began with the Huisinga and Norling families over 50 years ago.”