Rising Poultry Star Climbs Farm Manager Ranks
One of the first WPF-funded South Africans to return from a year-long poultry internship in the US, Nothando “Thando” Sibiya recently took on a new management position in South Africa. She now oversees a dozen staff at a larger layer operation than in her first management job (and much closer to home!).
The new farm’s 13 houses hold 50,000 birds, still “way fewer than at Iowa Cage Free,” where she interned. In fact, she says with a smile, “that’s like one house in Iowa.” But “chickens are chickens, even if the farm is different.” The husband/wife owners are “very good people,” and Thando loves the job. “If there were no challenges, I’d probably get bored.”
The young poultry manager keeps in touch with friends she made at Iowa Cage Free, especially the Production Supervisor. “We text and video chat all the time. I made friends for life.”
During her year in Iowa, Thando also self-financed distance studies in animal science and earned a specialized diploma in the subject. In job interviews, she says potential employers were impressed that she had two qualifications.
Between the two management positions in South Africa, Thando ventured into supplying chicks to broiler farms. She procured an incubator with her US earnings and bought fertile eggs from a major supplier. “Demand was huge,” and she had the chance to sign contracts to supply 45,000 chicks a week. But lack of funds prevented her from seizing the opportunity and scaling up production. Thando would also have needed a costly generator to safeguard against power outages.
For now, the return to a farm manager position with increased responsibility gives Thando security, the opportunity to continue building up her skills, and time to ponder and save for her next solo venture.
Power to you, Thando!
Ms. Frances Chisholm
Friend & Supporter of the WPF
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