"It's guys like him that will push us to our billion pound goal"

posted on Thursday, August 25, 2016

“If we need something, John gets here quickly to fix the big ticket items, then sticks around to fix the smaller issues and do preventative work, which really helps us out a lot,” said Mikey, the Sow 28 farm manager.

He’s referring to John Stonehocker, his maintenance technician who is also responsible for all of the preventive maintenance and emergency repairs at Sow 15, Sow 16 and Stalker #2 GDU. John also pitches in on a weekend “on call” rotation, responding to emergencies at any of the southern Iowa farms with the exception of Sow 29, our multiplication farm.

John has been with Iowa Select Farms for 10 months. He starts his day early at the Afton office, going over responsibilities with Clint, the southern Iowa maintenance supervisor, and picking up parts and supply orders from Monty, the warehouse manager. “John doesn’t mess around,” said Clint. “He gets into work, get his orders and headed out to his farms to get them up and going.”

The morning we were able to actually catch up with John he was headed out to Sow 28 to work on the feed bins and get feed flowing better through the lines and into the feeders.

“Ventilation is running daily, fresh water and feed is flowing daily and animals are being moved daily, which means equipment, feed lines, motors, gates and HVAC elements need upkeep and repairs on a routine basis,” said Clint. “We want to keep the farms in good condition for our animals and for the employees, and keep ahead of the wear and tear so the little problems don’t become big ones.”

Iowa Select Farms has 36 maintenance technicians located throughout the production territory, and with over 13,500 maintenance tickets submitted from our 700 farms each year, employees like John are critical to keeping the farms operating smoothly, and allowing the farm manager and caretakers to stay focused on pig care.

John oftentimes works alongside his father-in-law, Pat Steelman, who is a lead electrician on the maintenance team. “Everything I didn’t know about the job when I started, Pat took the time to teach me,” said John. “That was really helpful.”

“We really appreciate John,” said Doug, the former manager of Sow 16 (and soon to be manager of Sow 32). “He is hard working, never stops moving, and always calls in advance of his visit just in case there is something else that came up that he might need to grab parts for.”

Louis, the manager at Sow 15, said John always does really great work and gets a lot done while he’s at the farm. “He’s always in a good mood and gets along well with the team here, we really enjoy working with him.”

Clint, a former sow farm manager, knows firsthand the tremendous contribution the maintenance team has on the farms, and appreciates John for his dependability and hard work. “He goes out of his way to help make things easier on the managers so they can focus on caring for the pigs. It's guys like him that will push us to our billion pound goal,” he said. #billionpounds