Select Pride - Top Ten Sow Farms

posted on Tuesday, February 7, 2017

“There’s no secret ingredient, it’s about doing the right thing, all day and every day,” said Joe Becker, manager of Sow 16, the farm that took home the top SelectPride honors for 2016. “Even if it’s little things like changing light bulbs on heat lamps, our team is very detail oriented and always focused on doing what’s best for the animals.”

Congratulations to Joe and the entire team at Sow 16 on landing the first place overall win for 2016 Select Pride. The Sow 16 crew earned first place in Q1 and Q2 and third place in Q3 and Q4. When the results were tallied for overall Top Sow Farm for 2016—Sow 16 emerged victorious.

This past July, the position of farm manager transitioned from Doug Bates—who moved over to Sow 17 before recently taking the reins of Sow 32—to assistant manager Joe Becker. “I think a lot of the reason the farm ranked high in Q1 and Q2 is because of Joe and his leadership,” said Doug. “He really stepped up and did a fantastic job. We spent a lot of time focusing on goals early in the year and Joe never let those out of sight. He helped push the farm to be their best.”

“We didn’t get here alone,” said Joe, now the manager of Sow 16. “We have a strong sow herd and are fortunate for Chad and Dave at Stalker 2 GDU, our rotation of multiplication growers—Dolecheck, Howard, Cooper 1, Cooper 2, Lee, Decatur and Faris— and Bert and her Sow 29 team who run our multiplication. Everyone who is part of this flow has consistently done well and are the reason we have seen this continued success. We’re all in this together.”

Sow 16 ended the year averaging 14.7 for total born, 13.3 for born alive and 79.1% total born conversion. Also factored into final scores are the crew’ retention results, safety results, biosecurity audit results and production well-being assessments.

“Rhonda and the team at Sow 30 had a solid fourth quarter finish,” said Don Hunt, Senior Sow Supervisor. “As a manager, Rhonda is competitive and has a lot of passion for great production. They are always strong in the categories of pigs weaned per sow and total born conversion.” Sow 30 ended with an average of 11.7 pigs weaned per sow and an 82.51% total born conversion.

Don said Jeff and Leann (the breeding and farrowing department heads at Sow 30, respectively) take great pride and ownership in their areas of responsibility. “The team at the farm understands the importance of getting piglets started off right and places a tremendous amount of emphasis on the first 3-4 days of birth,” said Don.

Third place finish went to the team at Sow 5, which transitioned from manager Adriana Hernandez to Cesar Sanchez-Garza. “Cesar has done a tremendous job taking over the leadership role,” said Dan Dean, Senior Sow Supervisor for the farm. “The team has not missed a beat and should be very proud of their top ten finish.”

“John Hoffman and his team at Sow 26 are consistently in the top ten,” said Dan. “He pushes to get better every quarter and is an outstanding farm manager.” This year John and his team finished 4th place overall and the farm continues to have the most appearances in the top ten at 22.

“Fifth place winner Dustin Peck and the Sow 113 team do a good job every day,” said Dan. “This is a huge accomplishment given they went through a health shutdown this year.”

On the same note, Dan says Bert and the Sow 2 team took home 6th place even through an expansive farm remodel. “They kept pushing forward and making improvements every day no matter what was happening around them,” said Dan. “They didn’t miss a beat.”

Louis and the Sow 15 team continue to make significant improvements, landing firmly in the seventh place spot for 2016. “We’re talking about a farm that prior to 2016 had never ever been in the top ten for a quarter or for a year,” said Don. “And last year they made all four quarters and the overall list—they have come together as a team and know how to celebrate the small victories with add up to large ones.”

Also a big nod to Mary and the Sow 23 team who landed in eighth place after struggling with several health issues. “If there was an award for perseverance, Mary and her team would get it.”

“Gerhard and the Sow 116 team’s hard work is also paying off,” said Dan. “They’ve climbed up the ranking and have really made some big improvements.”

And rounding off the ten spot is Mikey and his team at Sow 28. “This is a team who is consistently a top performer, day in and day out,” said Don. Sow 28 continues to hold the record for “overall wins” for quarterly rankings, and has appeared in a top ten ranking 16 times.”

This was also an exciting quarter for Sow 7 who saw their first-ever appearance in Select Pride ranking for Q4. “It’s about consistency, commitment and changing the status-quo,” said Reuben Riniker, who joined Sow 7 as Manager in late 2015. “When I got to the farm they didn’t really see a top ten finish as attainable. We have worked on changing attitudes, expectations and setting higher goals. My department heads Sammi and Rogelio do not receive enough credit for all that they do. They’re great leaders who motivate the team, execute plans and hold people accountable to the standards that we are trying to reach. It’s really been a team effort.”

“Overall, we saw quite a few SelectPride newcomers this quarter and it’s exciting,” continued Don. In addition to Sow 7 earning their top ten win for Q4, Lance Lawrence and his team at Sow 11 and Doug Bates/Jennifer Haveman and their team at Sow 17 had great end of year production numbers earning them a spot in the rankings.

“This was also the first time that we welcomed Sow 36 to SelectPride and they earned the first place spot in Q4,”´said Dan. Sow 36 was a farm we acquired earlier this year, welcoming (Amy, Sawyer, Hannah, Alexandra, Joshua, Wendy, Anthony, Carol, Daphne and Rogelio) to the Iowa Select Farms team. Huge thanks Amy Groen who is the farrowing department and to Caleb and Lindsey who left Sow 24 and Sow 23, respectively, to oversee the transition and lead the breeding department.

“Last year both Caleb and Lindsey said ‘yes’ to an opportunity to temporarily relocate and help implement our culture and practices at Sow 36,” said Dan. The farm is now led by Rogelio Escobar Hernandez at the helm.

Congratulations to ALL of our sow farms on a great year, resulting in the achievement of our billion pound goal. We’re looking forward to seeing all that you accomplish in 2017 as we strive towards #billionplus.

1st Place: Sow 16—Joe Becker
2nd Place: Sow 30—Rhonda Root
3rd Place: Sow 5—Cesar Sanchez-Garza
4th Place: Sow 26—John Hoffman
5th Place: Sow 113—Dustin Peck
6th Place: Sow 15—Louis Lumbard
7th Place: Sow 2—Bert Weide
8th Place: Sow 23—Mary Kraft
9th Place: Sow 116—Gerhard Badenhorst
10th Place: Sow 28—Mikey Shields

1st Place: Sow 36— Rogelio Escobar Hernandez
2nd Place: Sow 30—Rhonda Root
3rd Place: Sow 16—Joe Becker
4th Place: Sow 15—Louis Lumbard
5th Place: Sow 5— Cesar Sanchez-Garza
6th Place: Sow 28—Mikey Shields
7th Place: Sow 113—Dustin Peck
8th Place: Sow 11—Lance Lawrence
9th Place: Sow 7— Reuben Riniker
10th Place: Sow 17—Jennifer Haveman