Supporting Local Employees, Contract Growers and Farmers Close to Home

posted on Thursday, February 1, 2018

“I was raised in this county, my family and friends still live in this county and I can’t believe after graduating from college that I found a job that brought me right back home.”

Jeff King, a finishing supervisor with Iowa Select Farms, has spent the majority of his life in northwest Iowa. And now, he’s excited to be growing his career near his hometown of Rockwell City —a dream that didn’t seem possible until recently.

“After going to school at Iowa Lakes, I never thought I’d find an opportunity that would bring me so close to home,” explained Jeff. “We’re an agricultural county, but it’s hard to get your foot in the door unless your family already farms. When I stumbled upon this job with Iowa Select Farms it seemed too good to be true.”

In his role as a finishing supervisor, Jeff supports local employees, contract growers and other farmers in Calhoun county who raise pigs for Iowa Select Farms. “My job is to make sure these guys have everything they need to be successful,” explained Jeff. “I schedule transportation, run supplies, train new caretakers, market pigs and help with chores. Working alongside some of the best and brightest in this industry is rewarding. Some of these guys have been working with pigs longer than I’ve been alive—but don’t tell them that.”

“Jeff joined our team as a junior finishing supervisor and was quickly promoted to finishing supervisor,” said Bob Webb, Jeff’s supervisor. “We are very proud of how he’s jumped in and progressed, and it’s nice to have him overseeing farms in the area he grew up in. He’s a strong addition to the Iowa Select Farms family and great asset to the community.”

“We welcome many new graduates like Jeff to the company,” said Bob. “We have a great mix of young people who are coming out of college and hoping to find something close to home. We’re lucky that we can provide those opportunities.”

Iowa Select Farms is currently the sixth largest employer of ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences graduates, and also welcomes students from local community colleges like Iowa Central, Iowa Lakes, Kirkwood, Hawkeye and DMACC. “Our production leadership program is perfect for our young employees like Jeff, because it gives them the training and development they need to be managers and leaders,” explained Bob.

In a recent conversation with Dr. Lee Schulz, an ag economist with ISU Extension and Outreach, he explained the importance of animal agriculture in rural Iowa communities. “For my job I look at the markets but I also look at the economic impact agriculture has to Iowa,” said Schulz. “With crop margins tight, pork production has really added to the economic activity in the state.”

And for people like Jeff, it’s exciting to see the benefits raising pigs has to his community. “I see firsthand everything Iowa Select Farms is doing to support our community through the pork loin giveaway and programs that helps hungry kids,” he said. “It’s amazing how much they care about giving back.”

“Many of my high school friends work for Iowa Select Farms, too,” said Jeff. “Either through the internship program or other part-time or full-time opportunities, it’s like a second family.

From jobs to all of the support they give to local businesses and people in need, I can’t imagine what our county would be like without Iowa Select Farms.”