Sleepy Hollow Receives Most Improved Award

posted on Thursday, October 27, 2022

Sleepy Hollow team
“I’m very proud of how hard this team has worked to achieve success,” said Scott Abels, Sleepy Hollow sow farm manager. “We’ve had our fair share of challenges, so it’s great to see the team recognized for their efforts.”

Congratulations to the team at Sleepy Hollow for recently receiving our most improved sow farm award.

In the far corners of northwest Iowa sits Sleepy Hollow sow farm, just outside George in Lyon County. As the farm’s manager, Scott leads a small but mighty team of well-seasoned animal caretakers to success.

After a long battle with health challenges, this team worked hard to make the necessary changes to improve herd health. By the beginning of Q1 2022, they could return to normal operations, ultimately leading to their recognition.

“Sleepy Hollow’s farm health has improved tremendously over the last year,” said Lynn Riedell, staff veterinarian for Iowa Select Farms. “It’s a testament to their diligence on processes, being on board with what we ask of them and keeping a great comradery amongst themselves as a team.”

This group has had minimal staff changes over the past four years, allowing them to work cohesively and efficiently.

“When issues arise, we know how to take care of it as a team,” said Wendy, the farm’s farrowing department head. “We collaborate well and quickly find solutions to problems.”

Scott is grateful for his department heads, Wendy and Shane, because he can rely on them to help lead the team. Shane is the breeding department head and is responsible for preparing gilts and sows with the care needed for a healthy pregnancy.

Shane says half the battle is receiving healthy gilts from a gilt developer (GDU). Sleepy Hollow gets their gilts from Wood GDU near Cylinder.

“Bryce and his team at Wood do a great job of producing healthy gilts that we can breed here at our farm,” said Shane. “It takes a team effort, even across farms.”

Beyond the group’s tenure and ability to stand out in production, Andrea says they keep things light-hearted.

“We like to poke fun at each other and joke around,” she says. “It makes each day more enjoyable and reminds us to keep a positive attitude while working.”

The little wins, though, keep this team moving in the right direction. Scott applauds his team for these wins.

“We hit number one for production rankings a few weeks ago, and I couldn’t have been prouder of my team for that,” he says. “It’s important to celebrate that win and keep us motivated to continued improvement.”

Scott also commends his team for their efforts in staying safe on the job. They have gone two years straight without having anyone get hurt at work.

“Our safety awards are a direct result of taking our time when completing daily animal care,” said Scott. “We don’t push completing tasks without the help of another teammate. We need to support each other and stay safe.”

As for the future, this team is looking forward to keeping their pigs healthy and staying consistent with what they know—great animal care.