Clarke Celebrates 25 Year of Service

posted on Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Congratulations to Clarke for celebrating 25 years with Iowa Select Farms!

Most employees may not realize that Clarke, a longtime maintenance technician, started his career as an animal caretaker at Stumme Sow 3. Back in the early 90s when Clarke was looking for a new job, a friend encouraged him to apply at Iowa Select Farms.

“I grew up on a farm with pigs, so I thought it would be a good fit,” he recalled. “Did I think I was going to be here 25 years later? Absolutely not. But am I glad that I applied all those years ago—you bet.”

After working for five years on sow farms, Clarke found himself in a wean truck driver role in the mornings (a job that sow farms did back in the day) and farm maintenance in the afternoon. Without any formal training, Clarke said his skills and determination from growing up on a farm helped him figure out the challenges of maintenance and repair. When a maintenance position opened up—he applied and got the job. That was 22 years ago, and Clarke hasn’t looked back since.

Today, Clarke still spends the majority of his time on sow farms (Sows 3, 6, 11, 12, 26 and G125, G500, G501, G948); however, rather than choring and breeding, his tasks range from fixing feed lines, heaters, and basically anything that impacts feed, water and/or air for the animals.

“I love that every day is the same, yet very different,” he said. “My job changes just enough from day-to-day that it always keeps me on my toes. It’s been really enjoyable over the years.”

Clarke credits much of his success as a maintenance technician to his prior experience in production. “I know when the heck to get out of the way,” he chuckled. “I can step in to help if need-be and it definitely provides a unique perspective because although things have changed, there’s still a lot that is the same, it’s just the technology around it that has improved.”

Speaking of changes—it’s been fun for Clarke to see farms evolve over the years. “The technologies you see in our farms nowadays are just incredible,” he said. “We’ve also evolved as a team and have a ticket system that helps farms let us know what needs done and prioritize our jobs. All of the technology we’ve implemented, whether on farm or within our own teams, have been for the better.”

One of the biggest changes that we’re perhaps most impressed with (and Clarke would never share) is how much his skillset has evolved since joining the maintenance team. All of his skills are self-taught, through trial and error over the years. Clarke also credits learning welding at a young age alongside his dad and the coworkers he’s had throughout the years who have taken the time to teach him things.

“The people have by far been my favorite part of this job,” he said. “From the guys I’ve had an opportunity to work and learn alongside to the farm staff I get to work with everyday, I really appreciate the friendships I’ve made over the years. I get to work with some really great people and it’s fun helping them.”

Outside of work, Clarke enjoys spending time in the great outdoors—fishing, target shooting and collecting guns. He even gets to relax on the family farm in Stratford where he grew up after a long day’s work.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years, but you know what they say, time flies when you’re old,” he chuckled. “It’s definitely been a wild one, but one that I am extremely grateful for.”

Congratulations on 25 years, Clarke! We are so lucky to have you on our team.