Dave Winters Celebrates 25 Years As Iowa Select Farms Employee
Congratulations to Dave Winters for celebrating 25 years with Iowa Select Farms!
Much like Iowa Select Farms’ production system, Dave’s career begins at a boar stud, or as we know them today, gene transfer centers.
“In 1994 we didn’t have boar studs like we do today,” said Dave. “We had several mini studs and I managed the one at Cadillac Sow 1, Iowa Select Farms’ first sow farm. We provided the semen for our farm and others nearby.”
Prior to managing the mini stud, Dave worked in the breeding department for three months. Brian Qualley, supervisor of the artificial insemination program, approached Dave about the vacant manager position. Dave was hesitant, but Brian made a promise that if he didn’t like it, he could return to the Sow 1 breeding department.
That was 24 years ago, and Dave hasn’t looked back since. In fact, Dave still reports to Brian and still manages a stud, just one that is quite larger than the mini at Sow 1.
“I ended up managing the mini stud at Sow 1 for three years,” recalled Dave. “But the biosecurity risks became too great and we decided to build a centralized farm where we would collect, sample and ship out semen while ensuring the health of the entire herd.”
Dave is talking about Qualley Boar Stud, the farm that he manages today and had a hand in designing back in 1997.
“It was definitely an exciting time and a neat project to be apart of,” he said. “It was something new and something big. We gradually closed the mini studs and brought all the employees together. I think it was really exciting for everyone involved.”
Although Dave’s role hasn’t changed much over the years, the one thing that has changed is the technology he utilizes daily.
“When I first started, we’d fill AI bottles by hand and screw a cap on, all for one dose of semen,” he said. “Now, we have machines that help us prepare 1,000 doses an hour. The advancements in technology have definitely been a game changer.”
In addition to improved technology, biosecurity protocols have been changed drastically over the years.
“I remember the Sow 4 farm manager walking over to Sow 1 during lunch and knocking on our kitchen window asking for his semen,” laughed Dave. “We didn’t think anything of it, passed it through and went on with our day. Today, everyone knows that would be a huge biosecurity risk.”Dave and his team start their days at 5 AM. After loading three delivery drivers with their supplies, the team gets to work collecting the boars. Once collecting is done, they test the semen to ensure quality, add extender to increase volume and prepare the following day’s supplies.
It’s a system they have down like clockwork but is extremely important to the success of the system.
“Working at a boar stud is rewarding because we support every GDU and sow farm and their production goals,” he said. “It helps that I’ve got a great team that gets along well. I’ve worked with a lot of good people over the years.”
When he’s not working, Dave enjoys spending time with his wife of 16 years, Jackie, four children and two grandchildren. The couple resides in Eldora—the perfect location between their hometowns Iowa Falls and Union.
“Well, my wife really enjoys shopping in her free time,” he joked. “Oh, you meant what are my hobbies? I love to golf and getting together with friends and family.”
For Dave, it’s hard to believe how quickly 25 years went by.
“There’s been a lot of good memories over the years, but the ones that stick out most are the friends made and time spent with my family at the company-sponsored outings,” he said. “The company has always made sure to take care of us and I’m proud to have been apart of Iowa Select Farms’ history.”
Congratulations on 25 years, Dave. We appreciate you and all you do for the company.