Shaun Walkup Finds Career in Livestock Care

posted on Thursday, August 1, 2019

Shaun Walkup Diagonal, Iowa

Shaun Walkup is the breeding department head at Smyrna. Shaun grew up on a row crop, swine and cattle farm south of Diagonal. When he was little, his parents raised feeder pigs and farrowed sows in an old farrowing shed. “I have always felt right at home around animals,” reflected Shaun “I’m lucky to have found a great opportunity around my hometown.”

While in high school, Shaun began working at Iowa Select Farms part time, rotating through Shaun Walkup breeding and farrowing at nearby sow and gilt development farms. He joined Iowa Select Farms fulltime after graduation; after a brief time away, he rejoined the company as an animal caretaker in January 2017, ready to make an impact.

This summer he applied for—and became—the breeding department head at Smyrna. Shaun always comes in ready to work.

Don Hunt, a regional supervisor who recently moved his family to Derby, Iowa, says Shaun brings a lot of energy and passion to pork production. “He shows up motivated to jump in and start making progress,” said Don. “Leaders like Shaun can’t wait to get their teams as excited about pork production as he is, and show them the potential of what people can do.”

“Looking back, I had great teachers and I am appreciative of that,” said Shaun, reflecting on the managers who trained and coached him years ago. The “most influential teachers were my parents.”

His dad, Robert, managed Parker Sow Farm for 16 years, and his mother, Misty, is the farrowing department head at Last Chance Sow Farm.

“My mom taught me to slow down a little, be patient and most of all be myself,” said Shaun. “She’s been a big influence on my life.”

Maybe someday Trent and Jordan will get pigs raised on Adam, Megan and Shaun’s farm. Until then, they are all united in their mission to raise healthy pigs to feed the world while cultivating deep family roots in rural Iowa.

Sow 38 cutting the ribbon