Doug Celebrates 20 Years with Iowa Select Farms
Congratulations to Doug for celebrating 20 years with Iowa Select Farms!
If there’s anything Doug knows about, it’s managing a sow farm. In the past 20 years he’s managed ten of our farms, oftentimes juggling two farms at once. Back in January of 2017, he was at the helm of Last Chance Sow 32, a brand-new farm that would kick off a tremendous period of growth for Iowa Select Farms.
“Being a part of that was just fantastic,” reflected Doug. “To have the opportunity to get to know my crew before the farm was up and running, it was an amazing opportunity. A ton of work went into it, but it’s an experience that I’ll forever be grateful for.”
As a young boy in Oakland, Iowa, Doug always enjoyed working with livestock on his family’s farm. They marketed 500 “fats”, or cattle, each year and farrowed 60 sows—a logistical challenge considering they only had 14 farrowing crates. His experiences on-farm trickled over into adult life as he pursued a full-time career in pork production. Prior to joining Iowa Select Farms, he managed multiple sow farms for a producer in Minnesota. Eager to get back closer to home, he accepted a position at Cadillac Sow 1 as a department manager in 2000.
Since then, Doug has worked at Sow 4, Sow 115, Sow 113, Sow 117, Sow 16, Sow 17, Sow 15 and, of course, Sow 32. Over the years, he’s experienced dramatic changes—and improvements—in production, breeding stock and overall herd quality. “From animal health to facilities to how we manage our people, the company has really evolved over the years,” he said. “Heck, I remember when we were excited to have 10.5 BA and now we’re seeing 14. I’m confident no one does it like us. Everyone works together to overcome obstacles and keeps pushing to get our goals accomplished.”
In addition to improved production, Doug says one of the biggest and perhaps most obvious changes is the size of the company. “I’m sure we’ve doubled if not tripled in size since I started,” he said. “But really, it’s quite remarkable because the Hansens still take just as good of care as our employees now as they did back then. I wouldn’t want to work for another company because I know it wouldn’t be the same. We get treated very well.”
At work, Doug runs a team of 13 employees. His goal is to get the team back into the Top Ten of SelectPride rankings.
Outside of work he runs an equally impressive crew, with seven grandkids ranging from ages 14 to two months. COVID has been especially difficult for a family like his that enjoys spending time together, but he and his wife have still found time to go camping and horseback riding. In fact, they just got back from a trip to the Black Hills.
If you know Doug, you’ll know that people and pigs are his passion. Which is why it’s no surprise that his long-term goals revolve around helping his team succeed, rather than personal success.
“For me, working alongside my people and developing them is what it’s all about,” he said. “I’m grateful for my time at the company and look forward to many years ahead, taking my team as far as I possibly can.”
Congratulations on an amazing 20 years, Doug. We appreciate you!