Continuing Success Even in Times of Change
“Becoming a farm manager has forced me out of my quiet comfort zone,” said Dana Mayer, the new manager at Gieger Sow Farm (Sow 27) located near Riceville.
For the past three years, Dana has kept her head down and stayed focused on leading the breeding department at the farm.
When manager Aaron Perry was asked to start the brand sow farm in the area (Primrose), Dana got her chance to step into the manager role. “Aaron helped prepare me and build my confidence,” said Dana. “But more importantly, I wouldn’t have done it with any other team.”
Rebecca Benttine, Dominique Bird, Jeremy Bird, Krystal Crews, Andrew Foster, Rayna Freebury, Trevor Meyerhoff, Craig Mullenbach, and Todd Watts round out the team, who, together, have been through a lot. Earlier this year the farm finished a two-year remodel, which means they had to learn how to care for sows in pen gestation and get a handle on running a positively-filtered farm.
In addition to transitioning farm managers, they took on the job of helping train what would eventually be the new crew at Primrose.
“This group of individuals have really stepped up to the plate the past couple of months,” said Dan Dean, Director of Sow Production. “Going through what they have, with the remodel and the increased workload, they really have done an excellent job.”
With Iowa Select Farms as a whole welcoming five new sow farms and investing in extensive remodels on most of the older farms, there hasn’t been a single team that hasn’t been impacted. Yet in the throes of rapid change, farms like Dana’s have collectively increased weaned pig production, improved total born and born alive—a combined 11% increase over 2017 from the same time period.
This year, the sow farm teams are set to produce 5.1 million weaned pigs, targeting a 15.0 total born—the highest in company history.
“We’ve become like a family here, and I am going to do everything I can do to help us reach our goals at this farm so we can be competitive with the top farms in the company,” said Dana. “There is so much potential here—we are care about this farm and my team knows what they are doing. I know no one is going to give up on pushing towards the Top Ten SelectPride rankings.”
Dana gives her support team the credit preparing her for her new found role.
“Aaron (Perry) and Dan (Dean) keep reassuring me they are just a phone call away, and I’ve taken advantage of that,” said Mayer. “We are all a part of the Iowa Select Farms family and help each other out any way that we can. I’m grateful for everyone who has confidence in me and helped me get to this point. Now, I’m looking forward to helping my team grow right along with me.”