Throwback to when it all began
Thursday is the perfect day to kick off our series on our Gene Transfer Centers. Let’s first throw back to 1994 when Iowa Select Farms was a new company with a passion for pork production and a determination to do things right, which begins with recruiting the best talent and expertise to the production team.
Which leads us to Brian Qualley and Dave Winters—two very tenured members of the Iowa Select Farms family. Brian was brought in to help train employees on artificial insemination techniques while at the same time strengthen the genetic improvement program. Part of that strategy was to design boar stud facilities to accommodate a growing system with challenging production targets. Dave joined shortly thereafter, working at Cadillac (Sow 1) sow farm before manning one of nine now defunct “mini-studs” that at the time supplied the genetics to the farms. In his spare time he helped Brian with planning and strategy, ultimately laying the groundwork for the genetic improvement program we know today.
In just a few short years their vision for facilities with the most stringent biosecurity and health protocols, semen quality and animal comfort came alive when Iowa Select Farms built Hastings Boar Stud. Located near Afton, Hastings supported the needs of the “Ponderosa” farms while a few months later Qualley Boar Stud was up and operating near Dows.
You can see Brian here, 18 years ago, guiding fellow employee and neighbors through Qualley Boar Stud. Dave was also on-hand, demonstrating how the crew would move the animals in and precisely control the environment in the barn. In the lab they walked guests through the process flow where the lab technicians would assess the semen, apply an extender and package the semen, all handled with precision and accuracy you’ll learn about in tomorrow’s post.
But as Iowa and US producers battled PRRS full force, Qualley Boar Stud was not immune and six years later a significant investment was made to make the facility the first-ever positive-filtration, HEPA-filtered boar stud in the US.
Hefner Boar Stud near Macksburg was introduced in 2006 and operated until 2012, when Post Cervical Artificial Insemination (PCAI) significantly reduced the number of boars needed to provide the genetic material for the production system. Today, Hefner has been transformed to the boar isolation facility where the animals are cared for while they are vaccinated, monitored and tested for PRRS, Influenza and PEDv, eventually moving into one of our GTCs.
Tomorrow we’ll begin to understand more about the impact of our teams at the GTCs, so stay with us! #billionpounds