Congratulations to Misty Walkup for celebrating 20 years with Iowa Select Farms
Congratulations to Misty Walkup for celebrating 20 years with Iowa Select Farms!
Early in her career, Misty rotated between sow farms 15, 16 and 17 in southern Iowa and was responsible for checking gilts and sows to confirm pregnancy. At the time it was a part-time job, but one that she loved and transitioned to full-time in 1999.
“It was fun to spend time at three farms meeting and working with different employees,” smiled Misty. “I’ve worked with a lot of really good people through the years. Bob helped me a lot and taught me many things in the beginning.”
After a relatively stable 13-year career at Sow 16, Misty went to Sow 28 to join the farrowing team. Within the year she had moved to Sow 15 to become the farrowing department head, stayed there for a few months and then was back to Sow 16 as breeding department head. It was a lot of change in short period of time, but a great opportunity for her to learn alongside new managers, department heads and employees.
Then, in 2017, Misty embarked on a journey that she will probably look back on as one of the highlights of her career—starting up Last Chance Sow Farm 32.
“Being apart of a startup and the team that got this farm running was just amazing,” she said. “When we saw the farm during construction, I couldn’t fathom what it would look like. Now I can’t imagine it any other way. We’ve got a lot to be proud of.”
Prior to the farm’s grand-opening, Misty jokes that she, “painted, painted and then painted some more”. The crew also helped install water nipples and other final touches before pigs officially came in. Then, of course, there was an open house to celebrate Iowa Select Farms’ newest sow farm at the time.
“It was incredible to meet and interact with hundreds of people that were excited to see our farm and learn about pig farming,” recalled Misty, who served as a tour guide and explained the farrowing department to more than 1,000 visitors that day.
“Then, when we finally welcomed pigs it was an amazing deal to be a part of. Tiring, but amazing nonetheless.”
Misty started as farrowing department head at the farm, but earlier this spring transitioned to breeding department head. In her current role, she works with a team of 5 to keep a watchful eye over their pigs, breed, heat check, breed and move animals.
“My favorite part of work is the pigs, of course, but I also love training people,” she said. “It’s fun to teach someone something valuable. It makes me feel accomplished.”
When she’s not at work, Misty enjoys spending time with her two children, Shaun (breeding department head at Smyrna Sow 38) and Tory, her son-in-law Chris and grandchildren Ryer and Rogan. She also enjoys golfing, fishing and like many other southern Iowans, hitting up the casino in Osceola.
She’s also made a lot of friends at work, many of whom are like family.
“I will never forget when a tornado came through and hit a few of our farms and also Doug Bates’ house,” she said. “We all volunteered our time to help clean up. Not because we had to, but because we wanted to. That’s just the Iowa Select Farms’ way.”
Although it’s not the happiest of memories, it’s on of Misty’s favorites because it shows the camaraderie and heart of our employees.
“I never could have imagined the company would grow into what it has today, but to me it’s still the same company, just upgraded,” she said. “We’ve always been committed to doing the best for our pigs and our people and I don’t ever see that changing.”
Congratulations on 20 years, Misty. We appreciate you and all that you’ve done for Iowa Select Farms.