Women in Poultry - Alice Guo

Learn more about Alice Guo with Cobb-Vantress
calendar icon 14 September 2022
clock icon 6 minute read

Alice Guo is a Senior Data Scientist within the Engagement Strategy Team at Cobb-Vantress. Before working with the Strategy Team, Alice worked under the World Tech Content Team for three years in the US. Before moving to the US., Alice served the Cobb Asia-Pacific Region as Data Analyst and Trial Coordinator for three years. Alice holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Physics from Qingdao University of Science and Technology.

Describe a typical day in your current role.

Alice Guo, Senior Data Scientist at Cobb-Vantress

A typical day for me consists of analyzing data from our internal operations team, so I can provide insights and solutions that help our organization and our customers continually improve performance. I am lucky to work with teams across Cobb-Vantress. As a leading poultry genetic research and development company, Cobb is working toward improving broiler breeders to ultimately help feed the growing population of the world. I feel proud coming to work every day because I truly believe in the mission and what we do. It is important to know that we are really making a difference.

What’s unique about your role?

My role requires a combination of knowledge in poultry and analytical skills. I have the luxury of accessing all the information and data sets of our operations at grandparent and great-grandparent levels. I also review customer data where we can look at commercial-level breeders (parent stocks) and broilers, which not only give us a picture of how we are doing but also provide feedback to our R&D team where information can be taken advantage of for genetic improvement. My work involves analyzing performance data, tracking progress, building trends, and identifying areas to improve from farm to hatchery. All of this requires a lot of data processing work on the computer. The ability to analyze and visualize data with the help of computer programs and software is vital, but at the same time, understanding the data is also fundamental to knowing what makes sense and what doesn’t and, ultimately, creating useful insights for the business that can be translated into actionable plans.

What are the main challenges you face in your role?

One of the main challenges of living in a modern world with technology easily accessible at our fingertips is that even more modern technologies are being developed in the world every day. Identifying the new software or program, learning and absorbing the knowledge, and ultimately applying that to daily work is always exciting and challenging. As part of the younger generation, we should always think ahead and out of the box. Our industry is very traditional, but that doesn’t mean we can’t advance or progress. Often, people don’t tend to think about technology when they talk about agriculture. But believe it or not, we are trending that way. We are using technology and intelligence to facilitate everything from genetic breeding traits selection at the top of the pyramid to broiler and yield performance in the field. My role requires a lot of data processing. I am always trying to explore new ways to analyze the data to benefit the entire organization and industry.

What does the future of poultry health look like in terms of preventing and treating disease?

With a history starting more than 100 years ago, Cobb has been committed to providing disease-free breeding flocks to customers worldwide under strict biosecurity programs conducted in all our facilities, from farm to hatchery. The knowledge is also being conveyed to customers or growers so all operations in the industry can work together to decrease instances of disease in the flocks. There are also continuous efforts being made from R&D to improve flocks’ resilience to the environment. As part of the industry, we are all responsible for healthy and productive flocks. It is a never-ending journey for everyone in the industry. We also have many responsible and experienced veterinarians who go out to the field, monitor flock health, and do everything they can to improve flock conditions within their knowledge.

Are there individuals or organizations in poultry you’ve found particularly inspirational?

I feel very lucky to be in a company that is full of inspirational people. I have had a few people I used to work with in Cobb Asia that have taught me not just about chickens but also about the right attitude toward work and life. It was very beneficial as a young graduate at the time. After moving to the US, I got to meet more great people. We treat each other with respect and work as a team. Everyone is contributing to the goal of feeding the world. It is just a positive environment with great vibes to be in.

What outstanding challenge facing the poultry industry would you most like to solve?

Big data solution. We are a traditional industry. At Cobb, we are always trying to develop new technology and programs to collect as much data as possible, analyze the data, and convert them into actionable plans for the company. However, not all of the companies or growers in the industry are doing so. It would be beneficial for integrations to realize the power of data and learn to use data. We just launched a new app not long ago that is targeted at helping customers enter production data into their phone at the farm. Just like any other app on your smartphone, the app is easy to navigate and use. The goal is to have real-time data that can show performance in a timely manner and travel back to managers where immediate adjustments can be made to the management program if necessary. This would somehow help solve the challenge of being digital in the poultry industry.

What’s the most exciting innovation you see on the horizon for the poultry industry?

Some exciting innovations in poultry equipment are evolving very quickly. We are seeing more and more automation in all areas, from egg collection, house cleaning, automatic feeding, climate control on the farm to egg candling and chick grading in the hatchery. There will be more and more equipment companies that can design better machines that fit our industry. This is going to reduce a lot of labor requirements and improve accuracy and efficiency.

What are you most excited about in the next 5-10 years regarding the poultry industry?

I will be excited to see chicken be the number one meat choice for everyone in the world. It has been the most affordable protein and hopefully will stay that way. It is nutrient-dense and considered a very healthy option for all. Together with turkey, chicken has the least impact on the environment. If you want to minimize your carbon footprint without giving up meat, chicken is the most sustainable choice. I believe poultry has a bright future, and I believe we can’t live without it.

What’s your next challenge?

I have been learning everything about poultry from scratch because I did not major in animal science or poultry at school. I am lucky to be in this industry and have enjoyed it since day one. I like visiting chicken houses, and I will never stop learning since there will always be a lot out there that I don’t know. Staying humble with an open mind and attitude will keep me absorbing new things in the industry.

Sarah Mikesell

Editor

Sarah Mikesell grew up on a five-generation family farming operation in Ohio, USA, where her family still farms. She feels extraordinarily lucky to get to do what she loves - write about livestock and crop agriculture. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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