Popcorn Sow Farm Presses through PRRS

posted on Monday, February 8, 2021

Popcorn Sow 30
“You would be hard-pressed to find a farm that knows their individual sows better than Sow 30,” said Katie, Biosecurity Director at Iowa Select Farms. “They are very particular when it comes to certain processes and care a lot! They go above and beyond for their animals.”

It’s been a minute since we’ve featured the hardworking crew at Popcorn Sow 30, but that doesn’t mean they’ve been flying under our radar. In fact, the farm has been a model of production excellence for quite some time.

“Sow 30 consistently brings it on the production side day in and day out,” said Sow Supervisor, Don. “They have ranked in the Top 5 of SelectPride rankings almost every quarter since 2016. Each and every individual at the farm is engaged in their production numbers and knows what’s required to achieve their goals. They’re a very competitive team, and it shows in their production success.”

Prior to breaking with PRRS at the beginning of Q4 last year, the farm was recognized as the first-place sow farm in SelectPride rankings. At the time, they had the top farrowing rate among farms with 91.63% and second place in total born at 16.05. They also excelled on the farrowing side of things with a 12.89 wean average and 7.69% pre-wean mortality.

Those strong numbers made the unexpected PRRS break even more devastating, but keeps the farm motivated to get back into the number one spot.

At the helm of the farm is manager Rhonda, alongside farrowing department head, Leann, assistant farrowing department head, Jennifer, maintenance man, Jeff, and animal caretakers Doug, Chuck, Bobbi, Tim, Kayci and Austin.

When asked how they would describe the culture at their farm, the crew replied with a resounding—hard work, dedication, and family.

“We talk things out and openly communicate every day,” said Rhonda. “We all know what’s going on at the farm, what needs to get done and where we can help out.”

T’Lee, the farm’s veterinarian, echoed Rhonda’s thoughts. “Perhaps what I love most about this farm, aside from how well they care for their animals, is that they are incredibly tight knit,” she said. “The crew at Sow 30 is truly like a family. They all care for and look out for each other both on a work and personal level.”

Although they’ve each got a job title assigned to their name, the farm regularly rotates between breeding and farrowing to help with daily tasks, working more as a single unit than two individual departments.

“To get the first-place spot, the whole farm has to be working together and committed to what we do,” said Jenn. “It shows in our results that we really care and now with PRRS, you can see it each week that our hard work and dedication is there. We love what we do.”

It just takes one quick visit to the farm to see that Jenn’s statement couldn’t ring anymore true. It’s not uncommon to walk the farrowing rooms and see baggies of candy, brownies, pop tarts and even strawberry milk. The crew at Sow 30 loves their sows unlike any other and goes above and beyond to provide animals with individualized care, often giving them nicknames and treats. In fact, the farm is petitioning (albeit informal) to get their name changed from Popcorn to Candyland.

But all sweetness aside, the crew at Sow 30 is a hard-working, competitive bunch.

“This farm is always striving for the number one spot and once they accomplish their goal, they don’t cut themselves any slack but instead push themselves even harder,” continued T’Lee. “They have a true sense of pride when it comes to their farm and are proud to be a part of it.”

We know it’s going to be an exciting year at Sow 30, and we can’t wait to see all of their hard work pay off. Keep up the great work!