Chris Smith Celebrates 25 Years with Iowa Select Farms

posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Congratulations to Chris Smith for celebrating 25 years with Iowa Select Farms!

A self-proclaimed “town kid” from Garner, Chris is just as shocked as anyone that his career ending up being in agriculture, but wouldn’t change it for the world.


“I love this job because it challenges you all the time,” he said. “There’s always new procedures coming in to make things more efficient. It’s been that way since I started in the 90s.”

After an injury took him out of a construction job, Chris’ father-in-law got him a job working as an animal caretaker for a large pork producer in the area. He loved the work and even followed his new career to Montana where he raised pigs for nearly four years. When Chris and his wife, Angi, decided it was time to move closer to home, he applied for a job with Iowa Select Farms.

“My first job was breeding technician at Kramer Sow 4,” he recalled. “Within six months I was promoted to department manager and then a year later moved to Sows 8 to startup and manage the farm.”

Like many startups at the time, the farm didn’t have an office which left the office staff changing in the farrowing rooms and using a portable generator to run water and feed lines. The farm also handmated all animals, a huge change from today’s breeding techniques and technologies.

“Beast Mode Biosecurity was definitely not a top priority back then,” he laughed. “It’s funny to look back on those times and see how much things have changed. What was common practice at one time wouldn’t even be considered for a second these days.”

Chris remained at Sow 8 for 18 years up until “recently” when he joined the ranks of the finishing team as a supervisor. In his role, he oversees 8 finishing managers and their farms. 

“I have fond memories or my time at Sow 8 and I worked with some really good, hardworking people, but moving to finishing was a nice change of pace,” he said. “We get to work with a variety of different managers, see how they do things and share those ideas with other. We’re always looking for ways to get better.”

One of the things that Chris really enjoys about his new role is the leadership team he gets to work with. “From Noel and Allen to Tim, Kevin, Bob and Tom, everyone’s got great ideas. It seems together, we can solve almost any problem, progress and move forward.”

When he’s not a work, Chris enjoys spending time with Angi and their children, Harper, her husband Nick and their son, Maclane. He also enjoys DIY home projects, welding, rebuilding wrecked vehicles and bass fishing, in fact, he used to participate in large tournaments in Minnesota.

When he’s asked to sum up the last 25 years at Iowa Select Farms, it’s hard for Chris not to smile.

“I’m not even sure how to put my time here into words,” he chuckled. “It’s been fun, challenging and rewarding all at the same time. It’s been a good company to work for and I look forward to the many years to come.

Congratulations on 25 years, Chris! We’re proud to have you on our team.