Congratulations to Aaron Perry for celebrating 20 years with Iowa Select Farms
Congratulations to Aaron Perry for celebrating 20 years with Iowa Select Farms!
Looking back, Aaron never imagined what started out as a hobby and two FFA pigs would turn into a full-time career, but he wouldn’t change it for the world.
During high school, Aaron worked for a local farmer helping with pig chores and then in 1996 after graduating from Riceville, started working part-time for TIP farms in the breeding department. Three years later, the company was purchased by Iowa Select Farms.
“I remember being really excited to transfer,” he recalled. “For us, it was a best-case scenario. We got to stay working in pork production at the same farms with no additional commute and a lot of the same employees. It also meant more benefits and job security, which was huge.”
Aaron’s first job with Iowa Select Farms was in the breeding department at Thorsen Sow 24. Although the dates are somewhat of a blur, Aaron was promoted to breeding manager, then farm manager at Sow 24. Over the years, he transferred to Gieger Sow 27 as farm managers and most recently in the spring of 2018, transferred to Primrose Sow 37 to oversee the brand-new sow farm’s startup.
“I think as a manager I’ve developed a reputation for pretty being laid-back,” he said. “Now, that’s not to say we’re not just as focused on the goals as any other farm, but as long as production is going good, I like to have some fun.”
Much like his hometown of Riceville, what Aaron loves most about working at Iowa Select Farms is the people. “In a small town like ours, everybody’s got everybody’s back,” he said. “We all look out for each other and the same could be said about Iowa Select. Although we’re competing, at the end of the day everyone is here to support each other.”
Aaron saw a lot of that support while starting up Primrose. “It was a challenge, that’s for sure,” he chuckled. “We needed to hit the ground running but had a very young crew, so a lot of our time was spent on training. The days were long, but two years later and we’re in a much better place.”
Earlier this year, Sow 37 achieved the #1 SelectPride spot for several weeks and is looking to finish out the year in the top ten overall rankings. The farm has come a long way in two short years thanks to teamwork, hard work, and commitment.
Outside of work, Aaron remains equally as committed to his family and community. For the past ten years, Aaron has served as a volunteer firefighter for the Riceville Fire Department and is also one of the local ambulance (EMS) drivers, responding to emergency calls and transporting people from their homes or an accident scene to the hospital.
“Riceville is a small town and if you don’t have people stepping up, you’re in trouble,” he said. “I enjoy helping people when they need help. When we show up, people are probably having one of the worst days of their lives and it feels good to be able to do something for them.”
Most recently, Aaron and his wife, Mary, who is also a sow farm manager with Iowa Select Farms, along with their daughter, Kylee, stepped up to take care of the Riceville Little Free Pantry. A program of Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation, the pantry serves as an emergency resource for families and children-in-need. Aaron, Mary and Kylee keep the pantry stocked with seasonal items purchased from local stores.
“It’s been awesome and is going really great,” he said. “Kylee has a lot of fun helping us pick the different items now that the weather is getting colder. These are the things we love most about the company. To see company care so much about their employees even though there’s 1,300 of us now and still be able to live as they do, it’s pretty cool.”
As a Riceville native, Aaron has a lot of hometown pride but never could have imagined the company would evolve into what it has today.
“A lot of the growth in our area has happened within the past five years and it’s had a big impact on the community,” he said. “A couple of years ago we were faced with losing the school, but our company's growth has brought more people to town and more kids. We employ a lot of people in the area that visit local businesses. I never imagined we’d be as big as we are, but I think it’s great.”
As far as the future goes, Aaron says you need to check in with his boss.
“Well, I’d love to say that I’m going to be with the company for a long time to come, but I think that’s something you need to ask my boss,” he joked. “This job is fulfilling, provides for my family and I enjoy going to work every day. I don’t think it gets any better than that.”
Congratulations on 20 years, Aaron! We truly appreciate you, your hard work, dedication and wit.