Bert: Biosecurity Best Way to Protects Our Animal's Health

posted on Thursday, October 6, 2022

Caretaker holding a piglet

"Biosecurity is a lifestyle, simple as that. It begins the moment you step onto the farm,” said Bert Becker, the manager of Thayer sow farm.

As an experienced pork producer, Bert knows what good biosecurity and high-quality animal care look like. Iowa Select Farms’ commitment to those practices is a big reason she has stayed with the company for thirteen years.

Our commitment to biosecurity isn’t just something we talk about; as Bert and our other producers know, it’s something we live out every day. In 2021, Iowa Select Farms sow farms earned an average of 94.24% compliance on internal biosecurity assessments. All sites undergo two internal biosecurity assessments each year. By bringing a fresh perspective to each farm, these assessments allow animal caretakers to see where improvements can be made in their day-to-day operations.

“When you think about biosecurity, you easily think of Bert and her team championing that process,” said sow supervisor Don Hunt. She has always been a leader in our system, ensuring biosecurity is the utmost priority. Bert and her team understand their farm’s herd's production, financial and genetic impact on the entire company.”

Throughout her years working in the pork industry, Bert has learned to prioritize biosecurity. During her career, she has worked with four companies as they oversaw her farm, but when Iowa Select Farms purchased the operation in 2009, she knew something set us apart from the rest.

“At this company, you have a real sense that they care about their employees and the feedback they give,” said Bert. I’ve seen changes in the company based on what employees suggest, and that’s evidence of them listening. They always do all they can to give their employees the training and tools to provide quality care to the pigs.”

At Iowa Select Farms, continuous employee training is one of the most effective practices to keep our pigs healthy. All employees and contractors complete biannual Pork Quality Assurance Plus and annual pig care training. Whether a new hire or a seasoned producer, every employee participates in training sessions to learn about new procedures and review tried and true ones. The workshops cover everything from pig handling and proper nutrition to biosecurity practices and disease prevention. This training is essential because biosecurity protocols are the first line of defense in protecting our pigs.

Because the team at Thayer sow farm follows protocols, promotes best practices and creates a culture of trust, they can positively impact the company. Bert knows her farm has a vital part to play. She takes that role seriously and sets high expectations for her team to foster a culture of continual success.

“We work hard to keep a secure environment and take pride in what we do,” said Bert. “Being recognized as a company leader in biosecurity happens because each team member is completely invested in caring for our animals.”