Congrats to Tiff Schnitker on 25 Years with Iowa Select Farms!
Congratulations to Tiffany Schnitker for celebrating 25 years with Iowa Select Farms!
Back in 1994, Tiff was a newlywed ready to conquer the world with new hubby, Allan, by her side. The two started working at Iowa Select Farms shortly after getting married and although their careers have taken them in different directions, both continue to work at the company today.
“When we started, I think the company had eight sow farms, several of which had just been built,” recalled Tiff. “It’s amazing how fast we’ve grown, but also in the same breath, it gives you an incredible sense of pride in your job. I think we’ve grown so successfully because we take care of our animals, employees and communities. People want our product because they know we do it the right way.”
Tiff’s first job with Iowa Select Farms was in the breeding department at Stumme Sow 3. “Back then we did not have AI, so we were pen mating with boars,” she explained. “It was a lot more labor intensive and dangerous for the employees, so the development of our gene transfer centers has been huge. There’s been a lot of things that have been changed for the better.”
Another one of those things, although very specific, is the shower and office setup at Sow 3.
“We didn’t have an office at the time so we used an airstream camper that we lovingly referred to as, ‘The Silver Bullet,’” she laughed. “We would take turns using the tiny shower before heading into the farm.”
In the winter, when it was too cold to keep the camper outside, the farm hung shower curtains in the farrowing office and that became the farm’s entrance, office and temporary shower room.
“It’s safe to say we’ve ramped up our biosecurity efforts since then,” she joked. “Honestly, the technology that we have today, I never could have imagined how fast it would develop and change. But it’s made us a better, more efficient company.”
Over the years, Tiff has held various on-farm positions including department head and sow farm manager. Three years ago, she joined the Production Well-Being Team as an onboarding trainer. In her current role, Tiff oversees new employee orientations, on-farm training, PQA and TQA certifications. She also supports all of the company’s farms with any needs that they have, from training and identifying problems to simply helping the staff improve existing production practices.
“What I love most about my job is the different people that I get to meet every week and welcome into the company,” she said. “A lot of our employees have never worked with pigs before, so I try to help them as much as possible and make things easy to understand.”
Currently, new employees go through a classroom training portion before heading on farm with Tiff. On farm, the group focuses on basic processes and procedures. “We cover a lot of important safety and biosecurity protocols,” she said. “It’s just a general exposure so they have an idea of what to expect when they get to their farm.”
When she’s not at work, Tiff enjoys spending time with Allan and their three children—Heather, Dylan and Tristan. All three have been very active in school sports, 4H and FFA which has kept them extremely busy throughout the school year and into the summer.
“Our kids might not work in agriculture someday, but they have grown up in this company and know and respect what we do,” she said. “They understand our system, where their food comes from and communicate that to their non-Ag friends. It makes me proud to hear them speak highly of what me and their Dad do as pig farmers.”
Like most employees celebrating a work anniversary, it’s hard for Tiff to wrap her mind around 25 years and how quickly they’ve flown by.
“Over the years, Iowa Select Farms has developed and become a better system because of our people and dedication to what we do,” she said. “Not only do we work well together, but we also genuinely enjoy each other’s company. This is more than a job for us—it’s an extension of our family.”
Congratulations on 25 years, Tiff! We’re lucky to have you on our team.