Announcing Your Quarter Two SelectCare Excellence Winners!
“The leaders and teams at our training farms are essential to our mission of providing excellent pig care,” said Cassandra, Director of Production Well-being. “They are tremendous ambassadors and take their role of welcoming, orientating and training, seriously.”
Cassandra is talking about the teams who work at Cadillac, Rout, Swanson, Jacobson, Greenfield, Last Chance, Sow 114, and Sow 116—all being recognized collectively as the quarter two SelectCare Excellence awards winner.
Working in cooperation with the production well-being trainers, these farms operate just like any other sow farm in system but rotated weekly through these farms are anywhere from 4-10 new hires, many getting their first glimpse of pig farming.
“These managers embrace their roles, welcome the new employees and help mentor what will be our future caretakers and potentially department heads and managers,” said Cassandra. “It’s a huge responsibility.”
Madeline, a production well-being trainer, and coordinator for the Last Chance Sow Farm, said the first day on the farm can be daunting. “We start by giving them a tour of the whole farm—the entry, showers and breakrooms, then we weave through the farm to see breeding, farrowing, transition rooms, filter banks, supply rooms and how we load animals in and out.”
“As we work our way through the farm and show and explain processes, the farm staff is welcoming and helps with the demonstrations,” said Madeline. “They’ll help us find what we need specific to the training—a unique litter, a pig that needs treated, a recordkeeping scenario, how we move sows from breeding to farrowing, from farrowing to breeding—they’ll make it happen for us so we can show and demonstrate good animal care.”
Chris, the supervisor for Sows 1-9 and 39, said the manager and team at Swanson sow farm do a tremendous job with training. “Cesar really makes it look seamless, and it’s not easy by any means—to juggle the farm operations and take on the training portion.”
Chris says Cesar has done a great job championing the training responsibilities internally with his own crew, delegating unique roles to them. “He’s organized and his whole team makes the new hires feel welcome.”
“Doug, the manager at Last Chance Sow Farm, has decades of production knowledge and doesn’t miss a beat, even when the farm is busy and his own workload is mounting,” said Madeline.
Don, the supervisor for Last Chance, adds that Doug and his team know the importance of being a training farm. They continue to set good examples for other farms, new employees and collectively take the role very seriously.
Because the training farms operate just like the others, the work of welcoming new hires and trainers is extra, along with the extra piles of laundry, boots that need cleaned and supplies, all the supplies. “We’re interrupting their day for sure, but these training farm teams know how important this is and give their time and energy to helping us get that critical training off on the right track,” said Madeline.
Gus, who supervises Sow 10, 114 and 116, said his managers are proud and always happy to help. “Horacio, Andres and Lorena know the effort they put into training and welcoming will pay off,” said Gus. “We are all friends and all working towards the same goals. Because we are so close knit we can talk about the other farms and who is there, so they get to know the staff a little before they even go there.”
Several of these farms train the caretakers here on a TN visa. “Not only are they new to the company but they are new to the country,” said Gus. “Our managers help them get acclimated. They talk about their families, bring in their favorite foods and even prepare a special meal on the farm for the new employees. The managers and teams at the training farms welcome them into the family, company and community as much as they help train on processes.”
Below is a collection of photos of just a few of the many faces that make up our eight training farms.