"Pig Problems, Everyday Decisions" Trainings Encourage Collaboration

posted on Tuesday, April 9, 2019

“We know that the key to great pig care and successful production is having good animal caretakers,” said Cassandra Jass, DVM and Director of Production Well-Being (PWB). “Whether it’s new employee training, follow-up with existing or programs like Pig Problems, Everyday Decisions, we know caretaker training is important for the day-to-day care of our pigs.”

Pig Problems, Everyday DecisionsSince February, employees and contractors have been attending a caretaker training course created by members of the Iowa Select Farms PWB team—Pig Problems, Everyday Decisions.

“When it comes to pig care, oftentimes we find ourselves in a situation where the correct pathway isn’t always so clear,” continued Jass. “This year’s annual training session helps all of us identify common pig problems and work together to determine the correct course of action.”

Pig Problems, Everyday DecisionsDuring the training, caretakers are split into groups and given packets of information to review with scenarios that involve biosecurity, properly identifying animals, handling broken needles and withdrawal protocols.

After reviewing the information, groups present their topic and scenario. As a large group, they determine an appropriate course of action. To make things even more realistic, the PWB team often throws in unexpected problems, or “oinks”, into the training that require employees and contractors to react quickly.

Pig Problems, Everyday Decisions“We focus on real life scenarios that our animal caretakers deal with every day,” said Craig Schrage, PWB finishing animal caretaker trainer. “We realize there is more than one solution for every problem, which is why we walk through the decision making process together.”

Employees, managers and supervisors alike agreed that the training is very beneficial.

“I thought that it was especially good this year because we’re pulling from real world stuff that our employees deal with but we don’t always talk about,” said Sandy Hill sow farm manager, Max Klepper. “There was actually a situation involving transition room biosecurity that our team just went through two weeks ago. A truck driver wanted to hand in a piece of equipment from outside the farm and we learned the proper way to get him the equipment from inside the farm. It was a good discussion for everyone at the training.”

Pig Problems, Everyday DecisionsPig Problems, Everyday Decisions will wrap up this Thursday, April 11. In total, there have been 27 trainings for all Iowa Select Farms employees and contractors.

“Our team is really proud of how engaged everyone has been during the trainings,” said Jass. “Although each one has been unique and fun in its own respect, they’ve all made it evident to us that everyone takes animal care very seriously.”