For a printable version of Michael's bio please click here.
Whilst still a young boy, Michael brought his first set of bantams home to his family's sheep and orcharding property at Tenterfield on the Northern Tablelands of N.S.W. As a teenager, his growing passion for poultry branded him with the nickname "chookie". During his early years of employment, generally in rural Australia, he always continued to be involved with poultry, and in 1998 he joined Bartter Enterprises (now Baiada) and managed broiler breeder farms and an imported genetics' facility.
After successfully working in the conventional poultry industry, Michael's desire to once again be involved with outdoor-raised poultry led him to work with some of our country's burgeoning free range and organic poultry producers. Michael quickly discovered his diverse poultry experience was of great value to these producers - and so began Poultry Works.
Poultry Works was founded in 2002 when it became apparent that the specific husbandry and management requirements of non-intensive poultry operations could not be adequately satisfied by conventional, intensive management practices. Issues such as grass ingestion and pasture management had become a thing of the past in intensive environments, and there was little information or support available for free-range and organic producers.
Poultry Works is involved in on-going research and development, and works with a range of government and private entities on matters relating to non-conventional production systems. These include genetics, non-chemical methods of external parasite control, nutrient profiling of pasture fed poultry products and education and training for the poultry production sector.
The strengths and attributes of Poultry Works could best be summed-up in one simple phrase - “Passionate about poultry with the capacity to deliver”. This capacity is generated by combining Michael Sommerlad’s unique blend of skills, experience and qualifications with the expertise of an expanding network of Australian and overseas poultry specialists, including:
• Poultry veterinarians
Never seeing himself as a so-called “expert”, Michael believes there is always more to learn. As a mature student, he began a Bachelor of Agriculture by distance education with the University of New England; specialising in ‘Avian Physiology’ and ‘Poultry Production’.
Michael's formal qualifications include:
Advanced Diploma of Agriculture
Advanced Diploma of Agribusiness Management
Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment
Certificate IV in Agriculture
Certificate IV in Business Management
Ag Institute Australia
World's Poultry Science Association
Poultry Technical Advisory Roles:
P.R.O.O.F. (Pastured Raised on Open Fields)
The Mulloon Institute
Soil Systems Australia
Read more about Michel on Linkedin