Passion for Animals Run Deeps
“If you would have told me twelve years ago that my job would be caring for pigs every day, I wouldn’t have believed you,” laughed Leanne Myers. “But now I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
When it comes to animals, Leanne Myers’ passion runs deep. From dogs and cats to birds and hamsters, she can’t remember a time in her life that she hasn’t loved them. Twelve years ago, Leanne’s passion turned into a career when she started helping a local farmer—and Iowa Select Farms contractor—with chores at his pig farms in the summer. An opportunity to care for additional farms opened up and Leanne took it. It was then that pig farming became her full-time job.
While it’s not your average 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, Leanne takes a lot of pride in her work.
“These animals depend on me 365 days a year,” explained Leanne. “It doesn’t matter if there’s a blizzard outside or the barn is on a Level B, low maintenance road—I always have to figure out a way to my farms to make sure the animals never go without feed, water or heat. Knowing that they depend on me is what keeps me motivated on the tough days, because there certainly has been a lot of them this winter.”
In her role as a contractor for Iowa Select Farms, Leanne oversees three finishing farms near Parkersburg, Iowa. Her farms receive weaned or feeder pigs and Leanne provides daily care until they reach market weight. She is also responsible for general farm upkeep.
Although no day is the same, Leanne has certain routines she follows that include walking pens, daily observations, choring, identifying animals that need treatment, monitoring feed and recordkeeping.
“Leanne’s farms are cleaner than my house,” joked Tom Boge, assistant senior finishing supervisor. “She does a tremendous job and the pride she takes in her work is reflected in how well her pigs and farms always look and perform.”
For Leanne, all of the hard work is worth it when she gets another group of pigs to market.
“Getting pigs at wean or feeder size and raising them up to market weight is extremely rewarding,” she said. “This is one of the few careers where you can see your hard work pay off right in front of you. Yes, there are a lot of long days, but once you get a group of healthy pigs to market you crave that feeling of success over and over again.”
In addition to the satisfaction of caring for pigs, Leanne loves the variety and flexibility of being a contractor.
“I’m told that I spend way too much time at my farms, but I suppose that’s what happens when you truly love what you do and set your own hours,” she said. “There’s just something about working with and caring for these animals that is so fulfilling. It’s a very rewarding job.”