Most Improved Sow Farm Celebrates Teamwork

posted on Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Basically, Loni is crushing it,” said Dan, the director of sow production.

He’s referring to Loni, the manager of Ochylski Sow Farm. While new to this farm, she previously managed Sow 118. Prior to that, she was a trainer at Ringgold Sow Farm.

Loni and her team of Veronica, Cody, Angel, Fabiola, Misael, Brittney, Abigail, Luis and Brandon recently earned the distinction of the Q1 Select Pride “Most Improved Sow Farm” by the sow production leadership team.

“She’s come in and changed the culture on the farm,” said Dan. “She took a strong focus on key areas that could drive the biggest improvements all while wrapping her arms about the ‘people care’ piece that is so important to our culture.”

Phillip, the farm’s supervisor, agrees. “Her ownership of the farm and her team is so evident, and in fact her whole team has ownership in training and development of themselves. I’m proud of them. We’re going to keep seeing good things from Loni and her team.”

The farm team stands outside of the barn,

Loni says it’s her team’s commitment and dedication that has pushed their performance upwards. They saw significant jumps in production areas such as their farrowing rate, total born and wean average.

“We’ve all worked so hard over the last year,” said Loni. “We have put great amounts of time into training, developing ourselves and team building, and it’s helped improve our numbers and overall performance. To receive this award is an honor, but we will keep working to get better—we’re not stopping.”

For the Ochylski team, the beginning of each day is the most important to setting the tone, and that’s where they attribute their success.

“Angel comes in each morning singing a tune saying, ‘it’s going to be a great day’ and it always makes everyone smile,” said Loni. “We keep things lighthearted and fun-loving. It keeps spirits up and makes for a positive environment on our farm.”

This team’s focus on attitude made an impact. While they may still be a relatively new group, Ochylski has bonded and grown together in their “go the extra mile” efforts to be a stronger farm.
“We decided we were going to make a change in our culture first and talked about how we were going to get there,” said Cody, an animal caretaker. “After that, we took on a different approach to training, improving our processes and how we would organize ourselves.”

Loni says breeding and farrowing assistant department heads, Veronica and Fabiola, also helped by setting great examples.

“Every day we see Veronica and Fabiola setting positive examples for the whole team,” said Loni. “They love pig care and are naturally driven to improve. I always see their dedication and commitment shine through.”

Abigail, a day one specialist and animal caretaker, says they’re all dedicated to teamwork. “We’re short a few employees, so we divide and conquer the work. We’re a team, which means we look out for each other. We’re learning how to become better caretakers, together.”

A tight-knit group, you can often find the Ochylski team jamming out to the radio, joking with each other while eating lunch together or throwing the occasional potluck.

This summer, Loni hosted everyone to her lake house for great food, team bonding and fellowship. Fabiola, an assistant department head, blew the group away with her fantastic cooking. Loni’s brother, Wes, who works on the nutrient management team, showed up to give rides on the pontoon.

“Doing something as simple as gathering outside of work made a big difference for us,” said Brittney a day one specialist and animal caretaker. “It helps to build the trust and friendships that we all have with each other.”

With big goals ahead, Loni and her team know they need to keep improving. “I would love to see us move in to the top 10 for SelectPride within the next year,” said Loni. “We will keep ourselves focused on great animal and people care and hopefully that will make for a great end result for us.”