Thorsen Sow Farm (Sow 24) — landed in the number six spot for SelectPride this quarter
“We’re consistently, consistent,” says Caleb Lidtke, manager of Thorsen Sow Farm (Sow 24), which landed in the number six spot for SelectPride this quarter. Thorsen is one of the older 3,500 head sow farms that has recently been remodeled to open pen gestation and positive filtration, but is void of fancy wall designs, oversized breakroom or a bank of six microwaves, two ovens and industrial-sized refrigerators.
But all of that is more than made up for in teamwork, comradery and the ability to achieve just about anything they put their mind to—no matter how new the farm is.
Caleb and his Thorsen crew and many others have proven they can hold their own (we’re looking at you Cadillac, Rout, Fonken, Sow 9 and Kielsmeier), being consistently, consistent in their daily approach to pig care.
When you talk to Caleb, you can tell he’s pretty proud of his team and his farm. He’s not a micromanager, he is thankful for the longevity of his team and the routines and accountabilities they have in place.
The Thorsen team consists of Caleb, breeding department head Jake Kraft, farrowing department head Dominique Bird, newborn pig specialist Deb Keller, Eddie Adams, Justin Birchem, Matthew Foster, Jason Hemann, Vicente Perez, Randy Quam, Flor Rodriguez-Garcia and Lili Vazque Moreno.
“We all depend on each other to show up at six a.m., shower in and get out to the barns,” said Caleb. “Everyone gets along really well and we all stay focused on doing the right thing for the pigs and the farm. This means doing all of the little things not just right once or twice a week, but consistently right every day—and that’s how we stay competitive.”
Mid-morning they break for 30 minutes as a team, and “chat about what’s up,” said Caleb. Over lunch, they regroup again, and help each other out so they can be done with their day’s work on time.
Caleb took the helm of Thorsen in March 2017 after the farm’s then-manager Kaci Pohlman moved over to lead Jamestown Sow Farm (4th Place, Q1 2019). Like many successful managers, he started at a technician, then worked his way up to lead both the farrowing and breeding departments.
“The progression I’ve made through all of the roles over the last eight years has been a great training ground, and has helped me see the how all of the details for daily care and consistent processes all pay off.”
Caleb says celebrating is important to his team, which is why they have a pizza party at the end of each quarter, and celebrate their SelectPride accomplishments, production achievements, safety results and employee retention.
Eddie, an animal caretaker, says the while the team comes off as laid back, the culture works really well because everyone helps each other out and understands that they are all working towards the same goal—being consistently consistent in their daily routines and supporting each other.
Flor, a farrowing lead, says she loves her job, and that she got lucky finding a career that she enjoys and a team she gets along with really well.”
Keep following us, and we’ll be sharing the stories of other farms, employees and contractors who achieved number one spots for Q1 SelectPride.