Bittersweet G715 Celebrates First Place SelectPride Wins in Q3 & Q4

posted on Friday, January 25, 2019

The team at Bittersweet G715 will tell you the atmosphere at their farm is anything but. Alvan Snyder, Tony Davis and Jessica Jones—recently celebrated first place SelectPride wins for quarters three and four of 2018.

Farm manager Alvan Snyder's been with Iowa Select Farms for 22 years!

“I think the most important thing is to have fun every day,” said Alvan, who has been employed with Iowa Select Farms for 22 years, 21 of which have been spent in gilt developers. “If you don’t enjoy your job, you’re not going to do it well, especially on days that require more time and effort than others.”

As a multiplication grower, G715, otherwise known as Bittersweet, is responsible for the daily care of gilts that will be sent to gilt development units (GDUs) throughout the state. GDUs provide sow farms with bred animals.

GDUs are also where gilt selection takes place. Every animal gets individually evaluated based on growth rates, structure (feet, legs, how they stand and walk) and overall body confirmation to determine if they meet the criteria to enter our breeding herd.

Tony enters production and animal care records into the Tools intranet in the farm's office

“Multiplication growers are extremely important to the health and well-being of our system,” said Shamus Brown, DVM, staff veterinarian and director of multiplication. “It’s where gilts are exposed and cleared of PEDV, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. We do that to ensure if a sow farm were to ever get the virus, the animals would have immunity.”

Alvan, Tony and Jessica rotate daily responsibilities at Bittersweet and Lorimor, both multiplication growers in southwest Iowa. Their days consist of walking barns, choring, identifying and treating sick or critical animals, farm upkeep, load ins, outs and routine maintenance. 
“Alvan, Jessica and Tony do an awesome job,” said Shamus. “They’re an extremely reliable group that we know is always going to provide excellent pig care.”

Between the three of them, Alvan, Tony and Jessica care for the animals on their farms 365 days a year.

Jessica gives some love to her gilts at Bittersweet“One time the feed lines were down and Alvan drove home from vacation to fix them,” recalled Jessica. “We thought he was crazy but he said, ‘I just want to make sure my pigs are fed!’”

While Tony and Jessica are far from being considered new employees, Tony joined Iowa Select Farms in 2015 and Jessica in 2016, they both continue to learn about pig care from Alvan.

“It’s all about consistency,” explained Alvan. “You take care of your pigs every day and make sure they always have fresh feed, air and water—no exceptions.”

And it also helps to have a little bit of luck.

Jessica, Tony and Alvan keep the atmosphere fun at Bittersweet

“We had great results in quarter three because that’s just how the ball bounced,” said Alvan. “We got lucky with great pigs, which was reflected in our low death loss numbers. Our mortality stayed low throughout quarter four and the pigs continued to look great. We have a lot to be proud of.”

Congratulations to Tony, Alvan and Jessica on their Q3 and Q4 2018 SelectPride wins!