Brooks G554 Wins 2019 Most Improved Gilt Developer
“This farm has overcome a lot of challenges in the past year, but they’ve really come together as a team and it shows,” said Jeremiah Hall, GDU Director. “I’m so proud of their accomplishments as a farm team, but also personally. They’ve all overcome obstacles while remaining extremely committed to the job.”
Congratulations to Virgil Bolinger, Angie Nicholson and Dallas Lock for winning 2019 Most Improved Gilt Developer! Together, the three are responsible for the daily farm and animal care at Brooks G544 near Corning.
“For me, it’s all in the details,” said Virgil, the farm’s manager. “You’ve got to do the same things every day and organization, routine and structure help with that. You’ve got to be consistent with everything that you do.”
Although he’ll be celebrating 23 years with Iowa Select Farms in April, Virgil has only been at Brooks G544 for ten months. Prior to managing the farm, he managed Huls GDU for more than 15 years.
“Since joining the team, Virgil has been able to build upon the farm’s strong foundation to improve PCP and get more bred animals out the door,” said Randy Hosfield, the farm’s supervisor. “He established routines right away and the farm has committed to executing them.”
Currently, the farm breeds an average of 85 gilts per week for Popcorn Sow 30 and Ochylski Sow 17. They continue to improve every quarter but most notably, improved their PCP by 15% in 2019.
“I was lucky to come to a farm that already had an employee with a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge of the job,” said Virgil, in reference to Angie who’s worked at Brooks for 10 years. “Angie is a huge asset, the farm just needed someone to help establish routines and get organized. I really appreciated her willingness to work with me as a manager.”
According to Angie, the key to success at a GDU is consistency, attention to detail and teamwork. “Everyone has to be working towards the same goals,” she said. “And they have to buy into those goals. If they’re not committed, it will show and the farm will suffer.”
Dallas says Brooks' success is their ability to communicate. They start and end their days together and, aside from checking feed bins, do almost everything together as a team.
For Virgil, patience is key.
“You’ve got to have the patience to trust the process,” he said. “Whether it’s sticking with a routine or being patient while breeding a gilt, you’ve got to take the time and care to do the job well. My team has been patient with me and it’s paid off for us. I’m proud of how far we’ve come and can’t wait to see what the future has in store.”