Jensen Team Hits the SelectPride Jackpot
When it comes to winning the lottery, the odds of hitting it big are usually slim to none. But for Todd Franke of Dumont, it seems he’s won the jackpot not once, but twice.
"It was just a $10 scratch ticket,” recalled Todd, who has worked at Iowa Select Farms for 13 years. “The gas station attendant had to chase after me because I walked out when he said I won. I thought he was joking.”
Todd, along with Roy Alden, Aaron Grulow and Roy Alden, Jr., work at Jensen gilt development unit (GDU) north of Parkersburg. The farm recently celebrated first place Select Pride wins for quarters two, three and four of 2018, and all four guys agree that between the hours, pay and people, they got lucky finding a great job in rural Iowa.
“We’ve got a routine that’s pretty much the same every day. Everyone knows what’s expected of them,” said Aaron. “Roy shows up between 5 and 6 a.m. and we’re close behind. We work hard to get out of here in a decent time, which I know everyone appreciates.”
Starting early has many perks, like time for their hobbies in the afternoon and evenings. Aaron hunts, Todd tends to his small cattle herd and Roy enjoys working on cars.
“I just got a ’64 Plymouth convertible, just like I had when I was a teen,” gleamed Roy. “I think it might be one my favorites because it brings back a lot of good memories. Cars have a way of doing that.”
In addition to knowing his way around engines and alternators, Roy knows quite a bit about managing a GDU. For the past thirteen years, he has rotated between farms in north central Iowa and in his current role manages the team at Jensen. The farm provides bred gilts for sow farms in northeast Iowa.
“We don’t really split up throughout the day,” explained Roy. “It’s not that I don’t trust them, it’s just that we work so well together. We’ve found we do a much better job.”
One of the main benefits working well together is achieving consistent numbers. Between quarters two and four, their pregnancy check positive (PCP) numbers were within .04%.
“This is a group of guys that has found what works for them and they don’t waver from it,” said director of GDUs, Jeremiah Hall. “Each person has a certain task and then they come together to breed and heat check. Their numbers are always very, very consistent.”
By the end of quarter four in 2018, the farm’s average PCP rate was 95.45% (2.45% above company target), and their biosecurity assessment average was 95% (company target)—a true feat considering the new set of biosecurity protocols implemented in 2016 after becoming a filtered farm.
“Roy and Todd are tenured employees, so learning several new biosecurity processes was a challenge,” continued Jeremiah. “But they took the challenge head on and haven’t missed a beat. Their numbers remain consistent and they continue to produce great gilts for our system.”
Congratulations to Roy, Todd, Aaron and Roy Jr. on a great year! Keep up in the great work in 2019.