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Breeder Management Course Springfield, Missouri

Aviagen® Turkeys completed its Breeder Course, held in Springfield, MO this July. Twenty-four students from six countries participated in this intensive four day course, co-hosted by Select Genetics.

The course was a mix of classroom work, held at the Southwest Missouri Research and Education Center, and practical sessions on our Select Genetics Aurora farm. The course was structured with classroom sessions in the morning, followed by corresponding practical sessions on the farm in the afternoon to gain hands-on experience.

Christy Puffenbarger, Vice President of Technical Services for Aviagen Turkeys, said, "The industry looks to the primary breeders for guidance and education and we felt this was the best way to train the next generation of breeder managers and supervisors.”

Learning in the Classroom

Guest speaker Dr. Lynn Bagley, Research Manager with Tyson's turkey division, joined us for the week for a series of presentations on Reproductive Physiology, Lighting, and Egg Production. Another guest speaker was Samantha Beitia, Director of Quality Assurance for Live Production at Simmons Foods, speaking on the importance of Water Sanitation. Dr. Ben Wileman, VP of Veterinary Services at Select Genetics presented on Bio-security, Salmonella, Health and Vaccination.

Laura Hagedon, Hatchery Quality Control Specialist at Select Genetics spoke about Egg Handling. Ryan Schnell, Technical Service and Sales Specialist at Select Genetics and Hugo Camacho, Technical Service Representative, presented on Brooding and Growing. Kirk West, Technical Service Representative, discussed Broody Control and Selection. John Sharp, Senior Technical Service Representative, spoke on Semen Collection, Insemination and Fertility.

To help ensure the students were taking it all in, the days started with a quiz to review the previous day’s instruction. The students were split into four teams for the week where they collaborated and learned from each other's experiences.

“It was great to get such a diverse group of customers together to not only learn from the outstanding group of speakers we featured but to also share ideas from their own operations," said Christy Puffenbarger.

Hands-on Experience

Each afternoon was comprised of stations setup throughout the farm to take students through practical learning experiences to give them tools and knowledge to take back to their operations. Students were able to learn new techniques and discuss the challenges and successes they see with their peers.

Our Aviagen team of instructors were divided amongst the teams to lead groups through stations and offer their experience and knowledge to support and answer questions along the way.

Semen Collection & Insemination John Sharp, Dr. Ben Wileman


C&D Rotation Dr. Jake Carlson


Danish Entry Dr. Ben Wileman


Egg Room Audit Dr. Ben Wileman 


Egg Machines Eric Hagedon



Egg Handling & Audit Laura Hagedon


“The purpose of our Technical Services Team is to work with our customers to achieve the best possible performance from their Nicholas and B.U.T. turkeys”, Christy noted. “We believe that courses like this Breeder Management Course are a good way to accomplish this goal. The diversity of the participants provided a unique learning experience that contributed to the overall success of the course and we appreciate our customers sending this great group of students. We look forward to welcoming our customers for additional courses that cover various aspects of turkey production in the near future.”