Learning American-style people management
Sanele Mthembu is one of the few World Poultry Foundation interns not paired with another South African for his US poultry internship. But it seems to work for him. “I enjoy being independent. I like to teach myself to solve a problem alone and I like challenges.” And, he added, “I made friends immediately!”
Sanele requested more time at the cage-free operation at the Rose Acres Farm in Winamac, Indiana, where he is training. He doesn’t expect to see cage-free introduced in South Africa any time soon, but he loves the operation: “It requires lots of thinking and planning. I like the challenge of constantly improving production, for example by providing calcium and other nutrients to prevent pecking and by maintaining just the right temperature and ventilation.”
Eager to experience all aspects of this large operation, he has asked to rotate also to the feed mill to observe how that team adjusts the mix against the egg production reports, as he’d like to focus on poultry nutrition when he returns to South Africa. “I’m always looking for new ideas.” He’s also impressed that Rose Acre Farms has its own testing laboratory. In South Africa, he ran the vaccination and blood sampling team at Nu Dawn Eggs where he hopes to return to a supervisory position.
With this interest in management, Sanele enjoys the Monday staff meetings where the team leaders describe how the operation is going and any problems to be addressed. “And if there are no problems, they just say thank you,” which he thinks is great. Before leaving South Africa, he attended a Supervisory Skills course at the KwaZulu-Natal Poultry Institute, a WPF partner. “Awesome,” he called the course. “The big challenge is dealing with people; the chickens are fine!” he chuckles.
In his free time, Sanele enjoys the gym and meeting up with other South African interns in Indianapolis. He also takes comfort in weekly calls to his family. The lastborn of four siblings, he’s the first to attend university. He’d like to have his own poultry farm one day and provide for his whole family.
We love your positive attitude, Sanele, and wish you every success!
The South African interns participate on a J-1 visa exchange visitor program sponsored by the WISE Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Dyersburg, Tennessee.
Ms. Frances Chisholm
Friend & Supporter of the WPF
Learn More About Frances