Most Improved Gilt Developer Goes to Colfax GDU
We’ve created a system here that keeps working better for us every day,” says Nick, the manager of Colfax GDU. Located outside of Pomeroy, the farm team of Scott, Andy, Miguel, Kim, Roman, Sid and Cami recently took home the recognition of Q4 most improved gilt developer and landed in the number two spot behind Saratoga gilt developer.
The farm is relatively new as is the team. The progressive climb up the SelectPride charts demonstrates the team’s ability to not only navigate a start-up, learn and develop as a team, all while transitioning to a top performing farm—something that is by no means easy.
“Early on I was given some advice by Jeremiah that really stuck with me,” said Nick. ‘To treat the barn and everything in it like it’s your own, and that’s exactly what we do here. I truly believe a lot of our success is driven by this mindset along with the ability to adapt to changes that are out of our control."
An attitude that is evident with the clean and tidy farm exterior, spotless entryway and squeaky-clean showers, break room and office. The meticulously organized supply shelves with outward facing labels also do not go unnoticed.
Nick says the whole team pitches in to keep the farm clean, which is the same, passionate approach the team has for achieving their production goals.
Jeremiah, who oversees the gift developers and multiplication team, says the Colfax team has been great at listening to advice and working on the opportunities. “They’ve really formed a great team bond, and they’ll keep getting better and stronger.”
“Part of our strategy is to reach out to anyone who can help us get better,” said Nick, who said Dan and Noel had walked through the farm the previous week looking at their gilts, and Alex was just there assessing body condition score. And the farm’s new vet, Lynn, would be paying them a visit Monday.
Nick says the small changes and adaptions have helped them improve their farrowing rates, lower mortality, and keep the farm PRRS-negative. “We’ll exhaust any option we have if it helps us move forward.”
"I am so proud of what we have accomplished as a team,: said Nick. "Everyone at this facility has stepped up and has really demonstrated true Iowa Select Farms care and passion."
Nick got his start with the company in 2018 as he was hired on as the manager at Wood GDU. Then, he moved over to help with the start-up of Colfax.
Nick says their early focus on training and then cross-training has paid off and helped build comradery. Add in hard work and a focus on the goals is paying off as Colfax has been slowly but steadily moving up the SelectPride ranking.
Gilt developers receive gilts coming from the multiplication growers then gives them special attention when it comes to providing the right nutrition, health treatments and monitoring their body condition. Then, the team breeds the gilts and records their PCP (pregnancy, confirmed positive) information.
Every four weeks, 500 bred gilts are moved out of Colfax, transported by the “inner sanctum” team, and welcomed into Derby and Last Chance sow farms.
Scott, the farm’s department head, says the training and cross training has helped them all gel as a team and get through the tougher times.
Previously a welder, Scott said being a “fixer” helps keep the farm in tip top shape. Scott’s wife, Kim—who up until a few months ago worked at the Rockwell City warehouse—also now works at Colfax.
“I really love working with animals,” said Kim. “I’m lucky to have found another really great team made up of great people.”
Kim says they also like to have fun with each other. “Like when we played an April Fool’s joke on Nick and told him all of the hogs got loose in barn four.”
Andy, a caretaker, says he appreciates how friendly everyone is at the farm, and all those who visit. Referred to Iowa Select Farms by his friend, Jerry, who supervises the western Iowa maintenance team, Andy says this is his first time working with livestock.
“I can say I’ve been impressed with how professional the company is, said Andy. “The people are friendly, it’s a good company with a good structure of support given to those of us on the farms.”
Roman, a breeding specialist, said when someone approaches him about Iowa Select Farms, he likes to say it's a great company driven by a lot of passion."
Miquel, also a breeding specialist, says he also really likes the job. Miquel joined Iowa Select Farms two years ago and is here on a TN visa. “I like being a breeder, and it’s good farm and a good team. We work together well.”
The whole team says Nick does a great job of communicating the farm goals and the teamwork on the farm is a point of pride amongst everyone, something they say will help continue to drive the farm forward.
We can't wait to see what else is in store for Colfax GDU!
Great job to Nick, Scott, Andy, Miquel, Roman, Kim, Sid and Cami.