Chris Nydegger Celebrates 25 Years with Iowa Select Farms
Congratulations to Chris Nydegger for celebrating 25 years with Iowa Select Farms!
Back in 1994, Chris could fill up for gas at $0.64/gallon as he headed to his job at Swanson Sow 5 as an animal caretaker. While gas prices have changed, Chris can still be found making that same commute to Sow 5, except now he's the farm's supervisor.
"Growing up, my family had a farrow-to-finish, beef cattle and a cow/calf operation," he explained. "I've been caring for animals as long as I can remember. Agriculture has always been a big part of my life."
After high school, Chris went to Kirkwood Community College for his AA. While in school, he applied for an internship with Iowa Select Farms. He's been with us ever since.
"Things have definitely changed over the years," Chris chuckled. "We've improved genetics and our facilities, among many other things, but the people are still my favorite part about this job. That's that one thing that's stayed the same, our awesome employees."
In his current role, Chris Supervises ten sow farms in central Iowa-Sows 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 39. Prior to being a supervisor, Chris worked as a breeding and farrowing department head for Sow 5 and also managed Sow 2 for ten years. From production to management people, each position taught him different things that prepared him for his current role as a sow supervisor.
Most recently, Chris has learned that on-farm technology and laptops allow him to be "on farm" anytime, anywhere.
"Our technology has improved over the years, but not just in how we communicate with one another," he said. "We've also experienced massive improvement with the technology in our barns, specifically positive pressure ventilation. That, along with biosecurity improvements and advanced genetics, has led to an increase in production. It's been a fun journey to be a part of."
In 25 years, Chris has made a lot of friends and memories, but some of his favorites are from his time spent managing Sow 2.
"We had a scale in the farm and decided to have our own big boar contest," he recalled. "From 400 to 2,000 pounds, everyone guessed the weight of our big boar. He ended up weighing 806 pounds. We had a lot of fun with it."
Even with 25 years under his belt, Chris continues to strive for greatness every day. "I am grateful for the teams that I work with and am always looking for ways to better myself and how I communicate with them," he said. "Whether that's better coaching methods for individual and team advancement, building relationships or improving my communication skills, there's always room for improvement."
Outside of work, Chris enjoys spending time with his daughters, Ashlee and Haylee, and also participates in a dart league in the winter months. It's hard for him to grasp how quickly 25 years has gone by.
"I remember when I interviewed with Don McKee, Iowa Select Farms' recruiter at the time, he asked me how long I planned to stay if given the job," Chris said. "I replied, 'as long as you want me'. So here I am still plugging away and I wouldn't change it for the world."