Congratulations to Saratoga on your Q1 first place SelectPride win!

posted on Sunday, June 16, 2019

Group picture at Saratoga

“You and I’ll just use a little patience…”

If you’re a Guns N’ Roses fan, you know exactly the tune we’ve now got you humming along to. It’s the song “Patience” and the anthem at Saratoga GDU—who recently took home the first place SelectPride spot for Q1.

Craig Whalen“If someone is having a tough time sorting pigs or trying to breed a gilt, we almost instinctively start singing that song,” chuckled Craig Whalen, manager at Saratoga. “Everyone knows it and everyone sings it. It keeps the mood light around here. Just a little patience.”

When they’re not busting out a tune, the crew—which consists of Craig, Dave Hemann, Shelly Hensley, Nick Pickar, Elsy Saucedo, Angela Schlatter and Adrian Ucan—is working together breeding anywhere from 200-225 gilts per week. The farm is responsible for supplying nearby Jamestown, Elmand and Primrose sow farms with quality replacement gilts for their herd.

Their recent Q1 success was supported by a 100% on their biosecurity assessment, 97.71% on their production well-being assessment, 3.04% open gilt mortality and 1.92% bred gilt mortality.

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“If there’s anything this team does a great job of its execution of the details,” said Jeremiah Hall, director of gilt development. “Successfully executing the little things is what takes a farm from good to great. Craig and the entire team have definitely taken this farm to the next level.”

Like many farms, days at Saratoga start with a morning meeting, but before they can talk production numbers and goals, there’s something more important to cover.“We gotta’ talk about the Twins!” joked avid Twins fans and baseball lovers, Craig and Dave. “Nothing but the important stuff first.”

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Then it’s to the barns for daily observations as a team, sorting animals, getting reading to breed and then hitting their breed targets. Dave and Nick also sneak away to do chores like cleaning alleys, pregnancy checks and treatments.


“We work really well as a team,” said Dave. “If we have success, we celebrate together. If we fail, we’re all accountable. We replaced the word “I” with “we” and that’s how we choose to operate every day. Everyone has each other’s backs.”

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The culture at Saratoga is something they’re really proud of—especially considering it wasn’t too long ago that the farm got its start.

“When we first started it was just a bunch of managers from the area they brought together for a breeding project,” recalled Nick. “It was hard at first since we were all used to managing our own farms, but we’re learned to check our egos, forget about titles and focus on the farm’s success instead.”


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“From monthly birthday celebrations to making work full of fun and laughter, this farm has worked really hard at becoming a team,” continued Jeremiah. “Along the way, they’ve developed a lot of great talent for our system and maintained excellent production results. I couldn’t be more proud of this group and all that they’ve accomplished.”

Congratulations to Saratoga on your Q1 first place SelectPride win!