Karina Rangel Interview

Karina Rangel has been working at MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. since October of 2016. She was hired as a temporary employee, but by January of 2017, she was officially hired as an administrative assistant. We were so pleased to add a talented and bilingual employee to our office staff! Please enjoy our recent blog post explaining how helpful it is to have a bilingual employee on staff. 

In addition to interpreting for employees and customers, when necessary, Karina helps the rest of the office staff by answering the phone, keeping track of inventory, ordering products for the store, keeping it neat and tidy, and assisting customers. She also helps with gift packs, assigning purchase orders, keeps track of the daily in/out board, takes orders, creates the health certificates and makes sure payments are all caught up. Karina’s work schedule is Tuesday-Friday from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm and Saturdays’s 10 am to 3 pm. You wouldn’t think she would have much time for anything else!

But alas, Karina has many interests. She enjoys reading, hiking, traveling, photography, and spending time with her fiancé. “I am currently reading Winesburg Ohio for the second time and enjoying it just as much as the first time,” she said. The book is a collection of short stories about life in a small town at the end of the nineteenth century. It doesn’t surprise me to find out that Karina has scholarly interests. She is so enthusiastic about life. 

After finishing one year at San Diego State University with a major in psychology and a minor in Spanish, Karina left college for the work world. She has worked as a marketing manager at Old Navy and as a dental assistant in San Francisco, California. She enjoys her work at MacFarlane Pheasants and though she hopes to return to college at some point she tells us she is very happy where she is right now! 

One of Karina’s favorite things about MacFarlane Pheasants is that every day brings something different. “Some days are chaotic, some days are not so much, but every day there is something new going on. It’s definitely a fast-paced job and I love it, “she said. 

Thanks for sharing Karina. It is a pleasure to have you working at MacFarlane Pheasants.

One of the many beautiful coasts Karina has seen in California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karina Rangel Interview

The Pheasant Business is Guided by the Weather

We look at multiple weather sites for information to plan our days and weeks on the pheasant farm. Generally, the Weather Channel, Accu Weather, and Wunderground, are our sources. We combine the forecasts and try to make rational decisions about our work and bird safety. Everything from warm rain to cold rain, snow and the wind affect our birds and the decisions we make!

Reasons to Check the Weather

Every week from April thru early October we have a group of pheasants to move from the brooder barns to outside pens. We have scheduled hatches of chicks arriving from the hatchery that need to go in the barn! If we are too cautious with the weather-related decisions, we can end up way behind schedule. If we send them outside when it is too wet and cold we can lose a lot of birds. You can understand why we check multiple sources! 

Bird move-outs

  • We want to make sure we have a three-day window without rain and lows above 50 degrees before we move young birds from the barn to the pens.
  • We also check for wind direction to determine how to place huts in the pens.

Planning our Work-week for Productivity

  • When we will have rainy days, we schedule inside jobs like peeping or sanitizing.
  • In the winter, we check snow fall predictions, to determine if we need to drop the nets in the pens. Pen nets will collapse with too much heavy, wet snow.
  • Planning mature deliveries means we need to load our truck according to the weather birds will encounter on their delivery route and destination.

If you would like to learn more about the importance of double checking multiple sources for weather forecasts you should talk to Brian Klein or Troy Cisewski on our farm. They are getting quite used to making weather related decisions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pheasant Business is Guided by the Weather

Employees Attend Layer School At Michigan State University

Erik Rusch and Heidi Welch, employees at MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. recently attended Layer School At Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. It was a two-day crash course geared toward everything to do with layer chickens (chickens that are in cages laying eggs for human consumption). Heidi and Erik were the only two “non-chicken” students attending this class and were happy to find that the information was applicable to our pheasant farm. 

The topics covered included ventilation, water systems, bedding in the barns, disease control, identification, feed nutrition and consumption. Erik told me that in addition to good information on each topic, the information about disease control and identification provided valuable experience. He said the hands-on training, in this area, directly related to his job caring for birds on our farm. 

The students were able to autopsy birds to identify the diseases that took the birds’ lives. This experience, along with the disease training, will help Erik and Heidi inform other employees about what they learned and to catch problems sooner, so that birds that can be saved through medication can be identified earlier.

Erik also told me that all of the instructors were very informed on the topics covered and that most of them had been in the business 20+ years. They shared experiences they have had in the field and were always open to questions. The instructors were excited to see two attendees from a game farm! Erik and Heidi got about 20 hours of training over 2 days and left feeling positive about the training. They recommend that others on the farm attend this type of training when they have the opportunity! 

Continuing education is an important component of any business, but we feel it is especially important on a game farm. Our pheasants are raised for sportspeople all over North America and our pheasant food products are sold around the world. Our business is in a continuous growth pattern. If we can learn something new that helps us to raise our birds more effectively, we will do it. We appreciate our employees who travel to attend classes and bring home new knowledge to share with all of us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Employees Attend Layer School At Michigan State University

Understanding End of Season Chick Sales

Each year we sell lots of chicks over the course of our main chick season from April to mid-August.  Consistently, our sales reach 1.5 million chicks by the end of the season! During the several months, when sales are booming, our staff is working long intensive days to take orders, prepare records, and ship chicks all over the world! August is the end of our chick sales season and the month of chick sales that is least understood by our customers.

Each year we take a few orders from customers who order thousands of chicks consistently throughout the season year after year. But we have to be careful not to over-commit chicks for the month of August. We never know if production will begin to dip, as we near the end of the season. We definitely do not want to promise someone thousands of chicks and then call to say, “Sorry, we can’t fulfill the order we promised.”

Instead of promising August chicks, we advertise when we know what we have going on in our hatchery!  We send out emails and post chicks for sale on Facebook. Recently, using this method, we sold 15,000 chicks out of the 25,000 we had available, in two days, and were able to fill the orders we had.

Most importantly, we want you to know that we do have August chicks each year. We take some August orders ahead of times, so if you order lots of chicks throughout the season and want to plan for August chicks, talk to our office staff at 1-800-345-8348. If we are unable to accept an order before August, please watch your email and our Facebook page in late July and early August to take advantage of ordering the late season chicks in August!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding End of Season Chick Sales

What Does the Sale of Whole Foods Mean for MacFarlane Pheasants?

News that Amazon will finalize the purchase of Whole Foods by the second half of 2017 is rampant on the internet. The articles consistently mention a deal for 13.7 billion dollars!  Whole Foods stores have been in business since 1980.  They opened with one store in Austin, Texas and now have 460 stores across the United States. Whole Foods has been selling MacFarlane pheasants for years and they are one of our biggest customers! This is why the future acquisition of Whole Foods, by Amazon, put us all on high alert!

We don’t expect the name will change after the deal is done. We do expect to see a change in the way sales are handled, though. More online availability is probable. It is conceivable that business at Whole Foods will increase due to online sales. Increased business is always welcome news, because when business increases where we sell our pheasant, we sell more pheasant!

Since Whole Foods is one of our biggest and best customers, we will be attentively watching for the finalization of the sale to Amazon. On-line ordering of our pheasant through Whole Foods would be a positive addition to in-store purchases. In the meantime, please stop into Whole Foods and buy some MacFarlane Pheasant this fall!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Does the Sale of Whole Foods Mean for MacFarlane Pheasants?

How Do We Support Spanish Speaking Customers and Employees?

Employers benefit from having bilingual employees on staff. Since October of 2016, Karina Rangel, who speaks both Spanish and English, has been working in our office at MacFarlane Pheasants. It is a real advantage in a business with customers from all over the world and many employees to have someone who can interpret for them. In a 2012 study by the National Institute of Health researchers found that people who grow up speaking two languages are also better at multi-tasking. We are indeed lucky to have Karina working here to support our Spanish speaking employees and customers.

Karina uses her abilities to interpret English to Spanish several times each month. Her abilities insure that our employees who have limited English skills are able to understand the information presented at company meetings and Human Resources meetings. Spanish speaking employees also come to Karina when they have questions. When Spanish speaking customers need support, Karina is there to assist. She has only been here since October, but word of mouth travels fast and many people have sought her services.

When I asked Karina to tell me about the part of her job that involves interpreting for others, she told me that she really enjoys this part of her job. She came here from California where being bilingual didn’t seem like such a big deal, but since working at MacFarlane Pheasants in Wisconsin, she has become a mini-celebrity! She finds her work both gratifying and great fun.

We are proud to have someone on staff who can support the Spanish speaking employees and customers who are so beneficial to our business. Be sure to ask for her assistance whenever needed!

 

¿Cómo apoyamos a los clientes y empleados de habla Español?

Los empleadores se benefician de tener empleados bilingües en el personal. Desde octubre de 2016, Karina Rangel, que habla español e inglés, ha estado trabajando en nuestra oficina de MacFarlane Faisanes. Es una ventaja real en un negocio con clientes de todo el mundo y muchos empleados que no hablan inglés al tener a alguien que pueda interpretar para ellos. Un estudio del 2012 por el Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones en Salud encontró que las personas que crecen hablando dos idiomas también son mejores en multi-tarea. Estamos realmente afortunados de tener a Karina trabajando aquí para apoyar a nuestros empleados y clientes hispano hablantes.

Karina utiliza sus habilidades para interpretar el inglés al español varias veces al mes. Sus habilidades aseguran que nuestros empleados que tienen habilidades limitadas en inglés sean capaces de entender la información presentada en las reuniones de la empresa y las reuniones de Recursos Humanos. Los empleados que hablan Español también vienen a Karina cuando tienen preguntas. Cuando los clientes de habla hispana necesitan apoyo, Karina está allí para ayudar. Ella sólo ha estado aquí desde octubre, pero la palabra de la boca viaja rápido y muchas personas han buscado sus servicios.

Cuando le pedí a Karina que me hablara de la parte de su trabajo que implica interpretar para otros, me dijo que realmente disfrutaba de esta parte de su trabajo. Ella vino aquí desde California, donde ser bilingüe no era una gran ventaja, pero desde que trabaja en MacFarlane Faisanes en Wisconsin se ha convertido en una mini-celebridad! Ella encuentra su trabajo gratificante y divertido.

Estamos orgullosos de tener a alguien en el personal que puede apoyar a los empleados de habla Español y a los clientes ya que es beneficioso para nuestro negocio. Asegúrete de pedir de su ayuda cuando sea necesario!

 

 

 

How Do We Support Spanish Speaking Customers and Employees?

Johan Jacobs Interview

Recently we have been interviewing our newest workers at MacFarlane Pheasants. They came to our farm all the way from South Africa! Johan Jacobs applied, through an agency in South Africa for an opportunity to work in the United States. MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. was the first job that popped up and Johan jumped at the chance to work in America.

Johan comes from a small seaside town called Lamberts Bay in the Western Cape. He says the weather is beautiful, but they don’t get much rain. It is a seaside village about 2.5 hours from Cape Town. This small town (around 6000 people) is a popular tourist destination with its wide expanses of white sand and delicious seafood. Johan, with his parents, owns a 100-seat restaurant, next to the ocean, called Weskus Kombuis.

Johan was off to work at 6:00 a.m. in his hometown. He would open the restaurant, check to see if all the cleaning was done, and stock the bar. He would check on the kitchen throughout the day, visit with customers, and in the evenings, would play his guitar, in the music corner, for the customers who came in to eat. He would close up shop at 10:00 p.m. and go home to prepare for another day. Like most of the gentlemen from South Africa who are working here, Johan said long days of work are typical in South Africa.

Though Johan works very hard at MacFarlane Pheasants, his work hours are typical 8-hour days with overtime on an as needed basis. Johan works in the hatchery on our farm, and gets to do many different jobs. His responsibilities change on a daily basis.  He told me that the variety is one of his favorite parts of his job!

Typical Week 

  • Hatch chicks
  • Sex chicks
  • Fill orders
  • Clean and disinfect the hatchery
  • Make sets for the week
  • Tray fresh eggs
  • Test egg fertility
  • Candle eggs
  • Organize for the week

Johan will be here till the middle of January and he hopes to visit some small towns while he is here. “The real beauty is not in the tourist attractions but in seeing how the country lays,” he said. Johan told me there are significant differences in Janesville, WI and Lamberts Bay, South Africa. The biggest difference here is the constantly changing weather.

Like most of our South African employees, Johan misses food from his hometown, but he has grown to love Mexican food like tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. When preparing food here, though, he has noticed that it is more expensive to shop for food than in his home country.

Another difference Johan has found quite positive in America is the ability to order online and get your order the next day. I think he has figured out one of American’s favorite pastimes!

Johan loves biking around “beautiful” Janesville, particularly off the beaten path. He also enjoys the people he works with and from what I have heard, they have enjoyed getting to know him! Thanks for sharing, Johan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johan Jacobs Interview

 

Wicus Jacobs Employed by MacFarlane Pheasants

Wicus Jacobs is currently an employee at MacFarlane Pheasants Inc. He has only lived in America for a short time and will only live here 10 months. He came to our farm from Christiana North West, South Africa. 

Christiana is an agricultural town on the banks of the Vaal River in the North-West Province of South Africa. The town was established in 1870 when diamonds were found on the banks of the Vaal River. Beef, maize, sorghum, ground nuts, and cotton are important economic products for Christiana. 

Wicus lived with his parents and worked as a cattle farm manager in his homeland. It is quite a different story in America. Wicus lives in a big house with a bunch of other guys and is learning all about pheasant farming. When he returns to his homeland, Wicus will return to cattle farming. He is happy to say though, that he will return with a great deal of knowledge about pheasants and life in America. He also told us that his experience working as part of a team has been very important to his work at MacFarlane Pheasants, because it is definitely a job for team players! 

Wicus’ favorite part of his job is the people he works with at MacFarlane Pheasants, which makes us quite happy. We all know that a pleasant workplace with people you enjoy makes learning new information much easier. Wicus is focusing on learning new skills every day! 

He also told us that daily life is not much different from his homeland except for living with so many people. Our meat tastes differently from South African meat and Wicus does miss the familiarity of South African food. Though he did add that he enjoys some American food very much. 

It is so good to get to know Wicus and we appreciate his dedication to learning new skills and being such a good team member.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wicus Jacobs Employed by MacFarlane Pheasants

Gerhardus Venter Leaves his Home in South Africa to Work at MacFarlane Pheasants in Janesville, WI, USA

A complicated application process in South Africa, at a company that helps South African people find work in the United States, brought Gerhardus Venter to MacFarlane Pheasants. He lives here with nine other men from various parts of South Africa, and will be here for 10 months. All of the men will return to their homeland on January 15, 2018.

Gerhardus worked in a farming town in Malalane, Mpumalanga, South Africa, farming tropical fruits and sugar cane for 12-15 hours a day, before he came to MacFarlane Pheasants. “I lived a plain life, working my days away to create a better future,” he said.

Gerhardus proudly described his home town. He told us that the Kruger National Park is less than 2 miles from his home in South Africa. This park is one of the largest game  reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 7,523 miles, in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in North Eastern South Africa. Another interesting piece of information Gerhardus shared is that the park was first protected by the South African Republic  government in 1898. It became South Africa’s first national park in 1926.

On our pheasant farm in Janesville, WI, Gerhardus works from 5:30-2:30 each day. He has learned to peep birds and also how to set up pens and care for birds in the pens. Obviously, the shorter hours and completely different kind of work are the most significant changes in his work life. Gerhardus also mentioned that there is a major difference in currency between the two countries, which affects the pay. The dollar currency in South Africa is the rand. One South African rand equals 0.078 of a US dollar.

Another difference in daily life between Gerhardus’ home country and Janesville, WI is that because he works less hours here, he has more spare time. “All the people and environment are different so it feels like a new world,” he said. He has lived in the same town (population 3500) his whole life and says it feels good to get away from his normal life where everything is the same day after day. He misses his mother’s cooking but has found a new favorite food in Janesville-cheese curds! He is also looking forward to seeing snow for the first time.

It is such a pleasure to learn about one of our newest employees, Gerhardus Venter and the home he left, to spend time learning the pheasant business at MacFarlane Pheasants Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gerhardus Venter Leaves his Home in South Africa to Work at MacFarlane Pheasants in Janesville, WI,  USA

Ronnie Viljoen Shares His Experiences from South Africa to America

Ronnie Viljoen was interested in working in America and he accomplished his goal when he was hired by MacFarlane Pheasants for a 10 month job on our farm. After lots of paperwork and working with the American Embassy to obtain a visa, he arrived in America all the way from the Great Karoo in Eastern Cape Province in South Africa.

The Great Karoo is well known for its agriculture and sheep farming. The land is very fertile. The climate is very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. There are many large mountains and lots of grassy plains. It is interesting to note that, though South Africa has much more wide-open spaces, Ronnie says that the landscape in America is not much different from his homeland.

Ronnie also told me that on the family farm where he grew up, and in the area, in general, they are well known for tasty and healthy food. A typical lunch is usually organic and you can expect to have three vegetables, rice, potatoes, and lamb or beef.

Ronnie’s life in South Africa is quite different from his life in America. He lives on a farm that has been in his family for five generations. His family farms ostriches, mainly, in a feed lotting system and they export meat and skins. On his farm, they have someone hired to do the day to day chores in the house as well as other staff members to do farm chores. At MacFarlane’s, Ronnie enjoys being a part of the staff and learning how things are done in other countries and industries. “It makes a person think,” he told me. At MacFarlane’s, Ronnie works in the hatchery where he does everything from traying eggs and setting up the incubators to shipping chicks.

Ronnie owned his own business in Great Karoo. He sold security cameras for farms and shops and also sold cell phones and laptops. Ronnie understands how to work hard at a variety of tasks!

Last but not least, Ronnie’s mother, dad and same age brother and sister still live in South Africa. You heard me right; Ronnie is part of a triplet! He will return to his family and work in his homeland in January 2018. Until that time, we are lucky enough to have a great employee and to learn about another part of the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ronnie Viljoen Shares His Experiences from South Africa to America