Billion Plus Kickoff Meeting

posted on Friday, January 27, 2017

“It’s going to be hard, we are going to have setbacks and there will be times when it will feel like we aren’t getting anywhere, but at this time next year we’ll be talking about how we all grew as leaders,” said Noel Williams, Iowa Select Farms’ Chief Operating Officer, during the #billionplus kickoff meeting earlier this week.

Nearly 200 sow, GDU, nursery and multiplication grower managers and finishing supervisors gathered in Des Moines earlier this week to reflect on last year’s billion pound goal, and collectively launch the start of 2017’s goal—#billionplus.

“Last year we challenged every part of our company to get better, and we worked together as a team and we did it,” said Jeff Hansen, President and CEO of Iowa Select Farms. “Congratulations to everyone for hitting 1,000,729,000 pounds of pork sold. You pushed through and made all of the construction, remodels and new farms happen—every aspect of Iowa Select Farms improved. When we look at 2017, it’s going to be even more work, but now we are road-tested and we know we can do it—we are reinventing our company, and every single one of you is helping to drive this forward.”

During the morning portion of the meeting Jeff, Noel and departmental leaders rolled out their 2017 goals and announced this year’s overall production goal of 1,057,262,629 pounds of pork sold—otherwise referred to as the more simplified version of #billionplus. Industry specialists led afternoon breakout sessions covering topics on PCAI breeding techniques, vaccine compliance, sow health, marketing, early pig care, leadership development and positive pressure ventilation.

While the goal this year is simplified for the sake of easily verbalizing and communicating throughout the company, “It’s still a 5.8% percent increase over last year’s production, which means we have to do it all over again, plus more,” said Williams, who led several discussions throughout the day challenging his leaders and teams on how they can get better.

“As leaders, we all have to take some time for self-reflection and ask ourselves, ‘What am I going to do today to execute better, to communicate better, to engage with my teams better, to be safer, to be more biosecure, and to give more of myself to my community—whether that’s your Iowa Select Farms team, your family, or your hometown. All of these things become your “plus”, and everyone’s plus is going to be different,” said Williams.

Employees were quick to offer their “Plus’s” and passed the microphone around to share what they would be focused on doing better this year. “Training is my plus,” said Jessica Rosener, a member of the Production Well-Being team. “I’m going to make every effort to take the time to explain and help our caretakers understand why we do the things we do for animal welfare and biosecurity.”

“My plus is that I am going to explain all of the pieces of the production puzzle to my employees,” said Mary Kraft, manager at Sow 23. “We work in a complex, metric-based field, and I want them to truly understand what our production numbers mean and how to improve them.”

“My plus this year is going to be having my growers and employees evaluate me as a supervisor,” said Randy Horne, a finishing supervisor for our western Iowa finishing region. “I’m going to ask them how I am as a leader, and if there are ways I can be a better supervisor and make things easier.”

“I’m excited for each and every one of us,” said Williams. “When we all get back here next year, we are going to celebrate what we did, talk about a billion plus, and talk about how we are a new company.” #billionplus