Newest Sow Farm Team Placed 1st in Q4 Select Pride Ranking

posted on Saturday, March 4, 2017

“Here is a farm team that has been open to transitioning to different practices, protocols and even company culture, and not only are they accomplishing this but they are thriving,” said Mark Lee, sow supervisor for Iowa Select Farms.

Mark is referring to our newest sow farm team at Sow 36. Nestled in the corner of northwest Iowa near the town of George, this 3,400 head, negatively filtered sow farm—often referred to as Sleepy Hollow—represents an exciting new chapter for Iowa Select Farms.

A mix of new employees, a new manager and employees who worked for the original owners and stayed with the farm—every member of this team is now officially part of the Iowa Select Farms family. We’d like to offer our warmest welcome to manager Rogelio Escobar, farrowing department head Amy Groen and Sawyer Hrdlicka, Daphne Dobarganes, Josh Parker, Tony Thomas, Alex Nagel, Hannah Langlois, Wendy Swarthout and Carol Thomas. Between these individuals, they bring more than 40 years of pig care experience to Iowa Select Farms.

During this four-part series, we’ll share the #billionplus stories of the Sow 36 breeding and farrowing teams, along with a few other surprise stories along the way.

Like all of our farms, both a leadership team and service team provide support to the caretakers at the farm. And like many instances at Iowa Select Farms, managers from other farms jump over to help, like Sow 33 farm manager Kaci Pohlman, who spends Thursday and Friday at the farm, and Mark Lee, their sow supervisor, who arrives first thing Monday morning and stays through Tuesday.

And while this farm is still learning things like HR paperwork and our internal Tools system, this PRRS-negative farm already has reason to celebrate—Sow 36 placed first in the quarter four 2016 ranking for SelectPride. This year also looks to be a promising year as they’ve earned first place weekly rankings thanks to high total born numbers and wean averages.

“We’re lucky to have the tenured, cross-trained employees that we do,” said Amy, a longtime employee of the farm. “Like all transitions there have been ups and downs, but we’ve received so much outside support from other people at Iowa Select Farms it’s made a huge difference.”

In addition to Dan, Mark and Kaci, Amy is referring to Caleb Lidtke, Sow 24 farm manager and Lindsay Larson, a breeding lead at Sow 23. Caleb, previously the breeding department head at Sow 24, managed the farm and Lindsey filled as a breed lead. Both spent four months at Sow 36 until the full team was in place.

Other people who support the Sow 36 team include Jerry Ackerman, repair and maintenance, Kent Pliner, nutrient management, Amy Hoopingarner, warehouse and supplies, Kim Wininger, feed procurement, Chris Riedell, alarms, Tiffany Schnitker, production trainer and Lynn Pavlovic, DVM.

As far as the future at Sow 36 is concerned, things are looking bright. “We’re learning new things every day, making improvements and coming together as a team,” said Rogelio. “Based on the support that we’ve received thus far, the goals we’re setting and the enthusiasm at which we’re working, I think this is going to be a very exciting, promising year for us.” #billionplus