Organization, Selflessness and Teamwork at Stamps GDU
“I feel like this was the perfect career for me after being at home with my kids for so many years,” said Cindy Swaney, stay-at-home-mom-turned-farm manager at a Gilt Development Unit (GDU) near Diagonal. “If you think about it, the jobs are really quite similar. They both require me to be organized, structured yet flexible, strict when necessary, goal-oriented, selfless and to keep going even when you’re exhausted as heck.”
After 13 years of being at home full-time to raise her three children, it was by chance that Cindy stumbled upon Iowa Select Farms while looking for a job. “I was actually on the company’s website to see what their meat prices were,” she recalled. “I saw that they had donated a bunch of pork in Creston and I wanted to support them for giving back to our community. I had no idea they actually raised the pork they were donating! I really liked what I saw and knew it was a company I would enjoy working at so I took a chance and applied.”
Nearly three years and two promotions later, Stamps GDU has become like home for Cindy and her small, yet mighty crew. “These guys have become my second family,” she said in reference to Andrew Rhamy and Dusty Barber. “I can’t quite explain it, we just click and I’m so grateful for them. They’re easily my favorite part about this job.”
Together, Cindy, Andrew and Dusty (who is currently helping out at nearby Stalker GDU) are responsible for the daily care of all animals at their site. “We start each morning with a team meeting to talk about our goals for the day,” explained Andrew. “From there we go out into the barn and walk every pen and make sure every animal gets up and is doing well. No animal gets overlooked and I think that makes a big difference in our improving numbers.”
And speaking of improving numbers -- the PCP, or pregnancy check positive, rate at Stamps is on a steady uphill climb. The farm has seen increases in their numbers and is currently at a 95.2%, 10-week average PCP rate, surpassing the company-wide goal of 93%.
“There are some great things happening at this farm,” explained Randy Hosfield, long-time Iowa Select Farms employee and GDU Supervisor. “Cindy came in not knowing much about managing a site and has taken some pretty big steps in a short period of time. She’s a fast-learner and I’m proud of how far she’s come. I knew from the beginning she had a lot of potential in her and she hasn’t let me down one bit.”
“Andrew also never ceases to impress me,” continued Randy. “He’s always asking about numbers and has great questions, all in an effort to continue getting better. When Cindy’s not here he is able to take charge and makes wise decisions. Both him and Dusty are key players on this farm.”
In addition to great leadership and production numbers, Stamps GDU is also doing well on safety and biosecurity. There have been zero injuries or incidents at the farm under Cindy, Andrew and Dusty’s leadership.
“I was very impressed with what I saw on a recent, unannounced assessment at the farm,” said Jessica Rosener, a Production Well-Being Specialist that visited Stamps this past Tuesday. “It was visible that they’re working together as a team to make sure their pigs receive the best possible care. No detail goes overlooked, which resulted in the farm receiving a score of 96.8%, surpassing the company target.”
“I’m proud of the results that we’ve achieved at this farm, but I’m also just really proud to work for this company,” continued Cindy. “My oldest daughter now wants to go to Iowa State and study animal science so she can work here someday. She’s inspired by how much I love my job and that’s the best part. I get to do what I love at a job that doesn’t keep me away from home. It’s the best of both worlds and I couldn’t be happier.”