Congratulations to Craig Mullenbach for celebrating 20 years with Iowa Select Farms
Congratulations to Craig Mullenbach for celebrating 20 years with Iowa Select Farms!
Since he’s been old enough to lift a hay bale, Craig has worked on his family’s diversified farm near Adams, Minnesota. Although mostly dairy, they added hogs into the operation in 1996. As a way to add additional income to their farming operation, Craig started working at Iowa Select Farms part-time in 1999 helping with load-outs at a nearby nursery.
“I had worked with pigs in some way nearly my entire life, so it made sense to apply for a job with Iowa Select Farms,” recalled Craig. “I really enjoyed the work and farming has always been second nature to me. It was a good fit.”
His role transitioned from helping at load-outs to part-time finisher maintenance, but that quickly turned into a full-time position. Craig stayed on the finishing side of things for nearly 10 years.
When Iowa Select Farms acquired Craig’s company in 1996, it made sense to stay on with the company. He loved his job and the idea of working for a family-owned company and pig farmer, just like himself, sounded appealing.
“I worked on finishers for the following six years,” he recalled. “Then, in 2002 I went to Sow 23 for a couple of months but ultimately ended up at a gilt developer. It was a nice change of pace.”
A colorectal cancer diagnosis forced Craig to take some time off in 2009, but two short years later he came back to Iowa Select Farms as a sow farm animal caretaker.
“I missed the pigs,” he joked. “I missed the people, too, but I love working with animals. In this job, you can see your hard work pay off. It’s rewarding.”
In his current role in the breeding department at Sow 27, Craig helps with daily chores, observations, movements, heat and pregnancy checking and of course, breeding. During Craig’s time at Iowa Select Farms, the company transitioned from artificial insemination to post-cervical artificial insemination (PCAI).
“It used to take three people to breed a sow,” he explained. “You’d have one person walking the boar and two people actually breeding. Today’s methods are a lot more efficient.”
Craig also helps the farrowing department with weaning pigs in the mornings and moving sows back to breeding. His maintenance skills also come in handy on the regular, especially since he can weld.
“I love how fast-paced this job is,” he said. “There’s always something to do which makes the days go by quickly. Each day is different, but has its own constant, consistent pace.”
Although he never could have imagined Iowa Select Farms evolving into the company that it has today, Craig thinks the growth has been necessary.
“With growth comes new jobs, but also a lot more procedures and protocols,” he said. “Biosecurity was not something we talked about regularly. Today, we have a lot of rules but it’s worth it. They contribute to healthier sows and overall improved herd health.”
When he’s not at work, Craig enjoys working on his new house and garage in Austin, Minnesota, that he just moved into this past spring. He also enjoys spending time with his nieces and nephews.
“The company has always been generous to us and it’s been fun to take my nieces and nephews to Adventureland park throughout the years,” he said. “From the meat giveaways in the summer and Christmas, it’s been a good place to work. They do a lot for us and I’m proud to have been here for 20 years.”
Congratulations, Craig! We appreciate you and all you’ve done for Iowa Select Farms.