Allan Schnitker Celebrates 25 Years with Iowa Select Farms
Congratulations to Allan Schnitker for celebrating 25 years with Iowa Select Farms!
Although he’s nowhere near his hometown of Liberty, Indiana, Allan has never veered far from his agricultural roots. After growing up on a diversified farm with row crops, cattle and pigs, Allan knew he wanted to remain in the industry so went on to Purdue University to study farm management. After graduating, he accepted a job with Dekalb Swine Breeders in Kansas. It was there that he met his now-wife, Tiffany, and the two have been working in the swine industry ever since (and also recently celebrated 25 years of marriage!).
“I just really enjoy raising pigs,” said Allan. “I’m sure it’s the farm kid in me and it’s just always something that I’ve enjoyed. It’s challenging and rewarding at the same time.”
In 1999, Allan joined the team at Kielsmeier Sow 12 as an animal caretaker. The farm hadn’t been open long and only had gilts to care for. On his first day of work, the farm had their first-ever litter of pigs.
“I suppose that really shows my age when I tell people that, but I still think it’s pretty cool,” he joked. “To be able to say that you were at a farm when they had their first litter of pigs—you’re apart of that farm’s history.”
It wasn’t long before Allan transferred to Miller Sow 13 as breeding department manager and then a year later went to Jacobson Sow 7 as farm manager. He was there for 14 years until most “recently” when he left to manage Sow 117 in 2011.
“We’ve evolved so much as a company since I started and the technology has changed right along with us,” he said. “When I started, farms were considered state of the art, but we’ve taken things to a whole new level with positive pressure filtration.”
Allan will get to experience that evolution of technology first-hand when his farm undergoes a massive remodel in 2021.
“That’s one of the reasons I love working in this industry,” he said. “There’s always something new to learn, a new challenge to overcome and new technologies being developed to make our jobs more efficient while increasing production.”
If you know Allan, it should come as no surprise that he’s very hands-on when it comes to managing his farm. And, it should also come as no surprise that one of his biggest pieces of advice is to, well, not be an a-hole.
“I’m a sow farm manager, not an office manager,” he joked. “I’m out in the barns all day long, helping my team out. I would never expect them to do something that I wouldn’t do. I respect them and hope they have respect for me, too. It’s an art getting people and pigs to work together, but I really enjoy it.”
Outside of work, Allan enjoys spending time with his family. All three of his children, Heather, Tristan and Dylan, are Iowa Select Farms’ Future Ag Leader scholarship recipients. His boys also work at Sow 117 part-time during school breaks.
“Iowa Select Farms is a big part of our family, it’s all our kids have ever known,” he said. “But if you would have asked me 25 years ago if I’d still be working here today, I would have said yes. I knew I’d be here for the long haul—and will continue to be for many years to come.”