I enjoy the job and the daily challenges
Previously we met Shawn, the farm manager for Sow 12 and 13, today we’d like to introduce you to Nick, his breed lead at 13.
A recent biology graduate of Iowa State University, Nick joined Iowa Select Farms as a farrowing technician to get experience in livestock production, thinking he may eventually apply to vet school.
Starting out in farrowing, Nick quickly realized how rooted pork production is in biological sciences, a subject he finds not only interesting but highly challenging. With Shawn’s commitment to cross training his two teams, Nick was moved from farrowing over to breeding after three months and has since been promoted to breed lead.
“I felt like with Nick’s drive he could make a bigger impact on the farm results over in breeding,” said Shawn. “To get him trained, we both spent time observing and using different heat checking styles and preg checking, then we double-checked each other until we found the right methods.”
“I like the daily challenge and the problem-solving aspect of this job," said Nick. “We work as a team on production challenges, like finding ways to be more efficient and identifying ways our breeding team can help improve farrowing rates, total born and pigs weaned.”
“Wean sow and open sow management has a huge impact on productivity, and we’ve been doing a lot of training on strategies such as when to feed and use the stress pen,” said Shawn. “He’s eager to learn and is a natural problem solver. I like to challenge his thinking and see if he can get the puzzle back together.”
Nick says he appreciates the teamwork aspect at the farm, “We have a very close-knit department, and we also work in tandem with the farrowing team,” said Nick. “If breeding is done early, we help farrowing and if we are running longer, they are down in the breed barns pitching in. That’s just how it is.”
“We’re a competitive group,” said Nick. “We not only try to beat our own numbers but we’re also in a friendly competition against the other farms, and our SelectPride program definitely keeps it interesting.”
Nick is also member of the Production Leadership Program, an effort that provides training and resources to employee who wish to be developed into higher positions and take on more challenges.
“Nick is highly self-motivated, which makes him a really good candidate for PLP because he’s driven and motivated to learn more about how to improve production, and puts his team and the care of the animals first and foremost.”
“I can see myself being a farm manager someday,” said Nick. “I really enjoy the job the daily challenges, I want to keep learning and developing to get there someday.” #billionpounds