“It’s crazy to think that you could have spent your whole career with the same company and feel like you know a tremendous amount, and then the next day you feel completely lost and not know what’s going on,” said Chad Schultz, a finishing supervisor for Iowa Select Farms.
Like many people in our company who have stepped up to fill a need, Chad spent 13 years managing Sow 14, then moved over to finishing to add strength to our western Iowa finishing team.
Overnight, Chad went from managing a breeding and farrowing crew of 13 employees at one job site to managing 24 different finishing sites, mostly operated by teams of independent contractors. “Pretty much everything was different to me,” said Chad. “How we set up the barn, our responsibilities, the goals…all the way to the hours we work—everything.”
But in one short year Chad has found his stride and settled in, with his hard work and adaptability earning him the #1 spot on the Q3 SelectPride list for the finishing team. The SelectPride list ranks the 26 finishing supervisors on production metrics like average daily gain, feed conversion, mortality and marketing abilities, plus compliance pieces like safety, biosecurity and production well-being audit scores.
Chad said he’s learned a lot from fellow finishing supervisors Nick Langel and Chris Smith, who also happens to be a former sow farm manager. Both have helped him learn everything from how the system works down to the lingo.
“It’s who Chad is that makes him able to succeed in any position,” said Allen Whiley, Director of Finishing, who also happens to be the longtime Director of Sow Production before taking over the finishing reins in 2007. “It’s his work ethic, his internal drive, and the pride he has in his work,” said Allen. “He’s put in the extra hours to not only learn it all but be one of the best finishing supervisors we have. I’ve really enjoyed having him on my team.”
Chad says there is more flexibility in the finishing side in terms of where to focus his time and efforts and what his day looks like. “We set our own schedules in terms of what sites we need to visit and what areas need the most attention, and our day can change pretty quickly depending on the weather, the transportation schedule, or what diagnostic results look like,” said Chad. “It’s not better or easier as both take leadership, organization and a lot of hard work, it’s just different.”
“I have a great group of contractors and employees, and some of them have been caring for pigs and managing farms for 15+ years,” said Chad. “They know what they are doing and have their own systems—and it works. I’ve learned how to step back and let them do their thing, and I know when it’s time to step in and do what’s right for the pigs.”
Chad says he likes to get work alongside his teams and help out with the work as much as he can. “There’s no sense in barking orders if you can’t get in the barn and do the work with them.”
There is one thing that is universal in both the sow and finishing system, says Chad. “You give the pigs the best care possible, and at that same time you have to take just as good of care of your people. I’ve watched over the years of how Iowa Select Farms rewards and encourages all of us, and when we get recognized for a job well done at meetings it feels good and motivates us to do better, to continue improving.” #billionpounds