From Farm Intern to Farm Manager
Checking in with World Poultry Foundation sponsored intern Sethabile “Seh” Dlamini since her return to South Africa, the vivacious young poultry farmer effused with good news: In June she was hired to manage a new layer farm, Iyanda Holdings, which trades as Wonderland Foods. Located on the edge of Durban, as an extra plus the farm is fortunately not far from Seh’s family home.
In interviewing for the position, the young poultry farmer felt that her US farming experience gave her a leg up in a time of very high unemployment in the industry: “I explained how things are done on a commercial egg farm in Arizona and how I could implement some of the best practices here. It definitely helped me land the job. I’ve been so lucky,” she beamed.
The new farm got up and running with 5,000 layers, “a low mortality rate and production hovering around 4,500 eggs per day,” she said. “I reach out to other former WPF poultry interns for advice when problems pop up. We have a good network.” Seh credits her stint as a supervisor in Arizona with helping her effectively manage her staff of six.
The farm plans to expand production to 20,000 birds, then progress to buying eggs from small local producers to sell under its own brand.
As eager as ever to learn, Seh is also taking a 3-month on-line horticulture course offered by the Durban University of Technology in preparation for the company’s plans to venture into vegetable production, which will also be under Seh’s management.
“Life is good; work is good,” says the exuberant young poultry farmer, “but I hardly have any social life.”
Here’s to you solving that work/life balance challenge, Seh, as a new manager. Wishing you lots of happy times in your budding poultry career!
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.