“We're getting close to showtime”
“We’re getting close to showtime,” laughs Wes Mathany, nutrient management technician for Iowa Select Farms. Between fixing tractors, generators, underground water lines and anything on the exterior of a site, Wes and members of the nutrient management team already have full days, but during the small window of time after harvest and before the ground freezes is when they make one of their most important contributions to the #billionpound journey.
“Simply put, this time of y...ear we oversee the manure application for our southern Iowa region,” said Wes. One of the biggest advantages of swine production is the manure, which contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium—nutrients that replenish the soil after area farmers are done with harvesting.
“In southern Iowa alone, it’s probably going to exceed 40 million gallons this year,” explains Wes, who works with teams of custom manure applicators to get the job done quickly, safely and sustainably. Wes and his team take manure samples from the barn and soil samples from the field and then calculate precise application rates. From there they create nutrient management plans for local farmers, then coordinate with custom manure applicators to apply the manure. Wes communicates to and trains those teams on specific environmental and biosecurity protocols.
If the weather cooperates, it’s not uncommon for Wes and his team to work 80+ hour work weeks in the fall. “It can be tough,” said Wes, “but when you finish after a long day and a farmer comes and shakes your hand to thank you for your hard work to help improve the fertility and profitability of his land, it makes all of those hours away from home really worth it.”
“Wes is reliable, dependable and gets along with everyone,” said Chris Franklin, Wes’ direct supervisor. “Transportation issues come up when the snow flies, and then the spring brings rain and mud. Wes is always the first one anyone calls when they get stuck in the mud, stuck in snow, have an accident or simply need a helping hand. He doesn’t ask questions or gets upset, he just gets there fast to help out and get people moving again.”
“You have to be flexible because your day can change pretty quickly around here, especially when Mother Nature is involved,” explained Wes, referring to the heavy rains that have pushed back the corn and soybean harvest in this state, dropping everything to plow out of farm driveways, or the numerous times he’s run to the rescue of a co-worker who needs pulled out of the mud or snow. “We always get it done, and take pride in getting it done right and helping each other out.” #billionpounds