Craig Hickethier Celebrates 25 Years with Iowa Select Farms
Congratulations to Craig Hickethier for celebrating 25 years with Iowa Select Farms!
When Craig started his career with Iowa Select Farms in 1994 as a nursery technician, the company only had two nursery farms and weaned pigs were hauled using school buses—that’s right, school buses!
“There’s a lot of funny memories from the ‘old days’, if you can even call them that,” laughed Craig. “I remember that each nursery had an employee that would drive the bus to a sow farm, pick up a load of pigs and then take them to one of the three nurseries. It was like our own morning school route.”
Prior to working at Iowa Select Farms, Craig was a salesman for a company in Council Bluffs. Unhappy in his current role and wanting to move closer to his hometown of Alden, Craig took a chance and applied for a job with Iowa Select Farms.
Months after joining the team, Craig was promoted to the assistant manager of Nursery 2 and was there from October 1994 through 1998. The years that followed kept him on the nursery side of things as he managed Nursery 19, Nursery 2, Nursery 5 and Nursery 6. He dual-managed both nursery 5 and 6 for thirteen years and then Nursery 10 and 113 for three years.
“I really enjoy the freedom and independence managing a nursery brings,” said Craig. “We have policies and procedures we’re required to follow, but I can make a lot of choices on my own. I have a team that supports and encourages me, but also gives me the freedom to be my own boss. It’s nice to feel like you’re running your own farm.”
In his current role, Craig dual-manages Nursery 12 and Eldridge, a brand new finisher farm just south of Iowa Falls. Although there’s been a slight learning curve with new ventilation, controllers and, of course, bigger pigs, Craig says he’s been successful because of an incredible support system.
“None of the long days or nights that this job often requires would be possible if it wasn’t for my wife, Darcy,” said Craig, who will celebrate 19 years of marriage this September. “She has always been very supportive of my career and understanding when I don’t get home when I’m supposed to because of an issue at the farm. I couldn’t do this without her.”
In the 25 years that he’s worked at Iowa Select Farms, Craig has met a lot of good people, many of whom have turned into close friends.
“I really appreciate the connections and friendships I’ve made over the years,” he said. “We help each other out in a lot of ways. If there’s a week that we don’t have pigs, we’ll go to each other’s farms. It’s a fun way to meet new people, help each other out and see how other people run their farm.”
When he’s not working, Craig enjoys finishing and spending time with his wife and two sons, Cody (16) and Zach (12) who are very involved in Iowa Falls-Alden athletics. He takes pride in working for a company that gives back to the community where he grew up and now raises his boys.
“I never dreamed the company would grow into what it has today, but it’s created a lot of jobs for me and many others,” he said. “And then you hear about all of the pork that the Foundation donates to local schools and communities and think, ‘wow, that’s the company that I work for,’ it’s pretty cool.”
Congratulations on 25 years, Craig. We’re lucky to have you on our team!