Congratulations to Dean Reddel for celebrating 20 years with Iowa Select Farms
Congratulations to Dean Reddel for celebrating 20 years with Iowa Select Farms!
Since starting his career 20 years ago, many things have changed in pork production; however, the one thing that has stayed the same is Dean’s work location. That’s right, his career started at the same place he calls “home” today—Erickson Sow 23.
“Believe it or not, the farm actually sits on ground that my brothers and I used to hunt pheasants and rabbits on,” chuckled Dean. “We grew up just a quarter mile west of there and I only live seven miles from the farm today. It’s definitely a nostalgic area for me.”
Back in 1999, Dean’s brother recruited him to come work at the farm and his first position was as an animal caretaker in the farrowing department. He eventually worked his way up to farrowing department head and was even a wean truck driver...at the same time!
“Back then it was the farm’s responsibility to transport weaned pigs and I was the only one that could drive the truck and gooseneck trailer,” he recalled. “We would load the pigs and then I’d take them to a finisher, help unload and then come back to work. It was tough because whether it was me or eventually someone else, you’d lose an employee for the entire day.”
Changes in biosecurity are obviously some of the most notable things that come to mind when Dean thinks about all of the changes over the years, but there’s also a lot of funny memories that come to mind when he thinks back on the past 20 years.
“One time the girls at the farm pulled a prank on me and it still has me laughing to this day,” he smirked. “They called me to the office and as I was close, someone said my name so I’d look back. The next thing I know, I turned back towards the office and I’m getting a bucket of water dumped all over me.”
After working at a farm and with several of the same people for so long, your co-workers start to become your family. For Dean, that’s Mary Kraft, the farm’s manager who worked in the breeding department when Dean started back in 1999.
“It’s the friendships and great coworkers that have kept me here all of these years,” said Dean. “Of course, I love my job and working with animals, but the people are what take it from a good job to great. We’re all like family.”
In his current role in the breeding department at Sow 23, Dean starts his days walking pens to get a close look at each and every animal. Then, it’s off to complete any necessary treatments, heat check, AI, power wash, help with animal movements, doing light or routine farm maintenance, body condition score bred animals, check ventilation and troubleshoot any airflow issues.
“What I love most about my job is taking care of the pigs every day,” said Dean. “If an animal gets sick, we work really hard to get them healthy again. We also work really hard in breeding to produce as many pigs as possible, so every day we keep a close eye on the numbers and have fun seeing how many babies our sows have.”
When he’s not at work, Dean fully enjoys the four seasons Iowa offers. He camps and fishes in the summer, rides snowmobiles in the winter and does some hunting in the spring and fall. He also enjoys spending time with his children, Danielle, Jordan, Colton and Dalton, who also works for Iowa Select Farms at Jamestown Sow 33.
“We’ve really enjoyed the different events that Iowa Select Farms makes possible for us to attend as a family,” said Dean. “They also do a lot for our community, which means a lot.”
Most recently, Dean, along with his two grandsons, Noah and Mason, had the opportunity to help hand out pork loins at Operation Christmas Meal in Osage—a free pork loin giveaway for area families in need.
“Looking back, it’s crazy how fast 20 years has come and gone,” said Dean. “But every year we seem to get a little bigger and do things a little better. I’m grateful for my time here and it’s fun to think back on how far we’ve come as a company.”
Congratulations on 20 years, Dean! We appreciate you, your hard work, dedication and the fun you bring with you wherever you go.