Meet Hayden Williams, one of the first two students to be featured in Farm Journal PORK's new regular feature, Up & Coming Leaders. We will be featuring some of the fresh, new voices of the pork industry who combine innovative thought and work ethic with scientific savvy and a passion to make a difference.
Hometown: Iowa Falls, Iowa
Education: Bachelor’s in biology with a minor in chemistry, Wabash College; master’s in swine nutrition and is in second year of doctorate in swine nutrition, Kansas State University
Q. What is your background in the swine industry?
A. Growing up with a father in the swine industry helped me experience aspects of commercial swine production in high school and college. I took a non-traditional route by going to a liberal arts college and pursuing a basic science degree. I thought I would go into a different field, but always found my way back to commercial swine production.
Q. Tell us about your internship experiences.
A. I interned with IVESCO and Phibro detailing products for producers and seeking information from the feed industry about the new VFD rules. I served as a research assistant intern with Iowa Select Farms developing and implementing a trial on the effects of different types of antibiotic injections at placement on nursery and grow-finish performance. In addition, I had farm technician internships at Iowa Select Farms learning how to control PEDV and Allen Sow farms learning basic breeding techniques and operating procedures for farrowing rooms.
Q. Did you take part in undergraduate research?
A. My first experience in commercial research was at a Kentucky sow farm where we compared AI and PCAI (post cervical artificial insemination). I observed the research process from implementation of the protocol, movement of sows and breeding.
Q. Tell us about your current research.
A. I am researching iron supplementation in pre- and postweaned pigs, including the effect of in-feed supplementation of iron on nursery pigs and the effects of iron dosage and injection timing after birth on preweaning, nursery and grow-finisher performance. My initial findings show iron injection dosage and timing after birth plays a vital role in growth and development. The amount and timing of injections can have a lasting effect on nursery and grow-finish performance. Also, iron-deficient pigs at weaning can restore blood levels similar to that of pigs receiving an iron injection by the end of the nursery when consuming diets supplemented with adequate iron.