posted on Friday, September 16, 2016
“My team is like my second family,” said Collin, a former-intern-turned-finishing-supervisor who joined our Young Leader Panel. “When I started they welcomed me with open arms and helped me learn the ropes.
“Family”, “welcoming”, “helpful”, “close-knit”,” friendly”, “driven”, “caring” and “hard-working” were all used by our Young Leader Panel when describing the culture they experienced when they first started working for Iowa Select Farms.
Alex, a 2015-intern-turned-finishing supervisor gave an example from one of the farms he oversees. “A husband, wife and their son all work at my site, so not only is the culture just like a family, it literally is a family,” he laughed. As he works with his 17 farm teams throughout his finishing territory he sees how much everyone helps each other out. “The other week an employee had a birthday so he took the day off and the others covered for him. “Everyone gets vacation, personal days, sick days, Adventureland and Iowa State Fair days, but the pigs need care every day. We are programmed to cover the chores no matter what, and everyone is always willing to jump in.”
Similarly, former intern Rebecca Baker—who worked at Sow 26 last year summer—noticed the same caring and helpful atmosphere. “Everyone was really close and if I needed help or was struggling with a task John and his team took time to explain and help me out,” said Rebecca.
While passion, hard-work, dependability and family-feel are qualities that ring true on all our farms, each sow farm, finisher, nursery and GDU in our system differs slightly in culture, each possessing its own unique characteristics.
Janea Shannon, a 2012 intern and manager of Sow 31, talked about her experience with the culture on our sow farms. “I’ve been on quite a few of our sow farms now and every culture is a little bit different,” said Janea. “At my farm, we’re all pretty young so we like to joke around how it feels like you’re working with your good friends. But at the same time we’re also really serious about production and getting things done, and done well.”
Gilt Selection Specialist, Eric Hensley shared what the culture is like at a GDU. “It’s usually just two people per GDU, so you tend to become pretty good friends,” said Eric, who interned with Iowa Select Farms in 2014 and then joined the company full-time as one of our 38 GDU managers. Since them he moved into a role where he is responsible for going from GDU to GDU and selecting replacement gilts for the sow system. “We are all pretty numbers driven because its critical to get our very best gilts to the sow farms, so we’re looking at breed targets and farrowing rates daily and then sharing information amongst ourselves to try and get better,” said Eric.
Logan Goff—a 2015 intern who joined Iowa Select Farms as a Tour Coordinator—has a unique perspective on our company culture since her time is split between on-farm and in the office. “Largely the culture is the same at both. The farms are focused on production and animal care, and the support teams are doing their best to help out the farms,” said Logan.
“I work on coordinating tours for our JBS customers, and Lance and his team at Sow 11 along with the production well-being, health services and communications staff all work together to make sure we are prepared, organized and make sure our guests have a good experience. We have a lot of tours to cover, and nobody ever says, ‘that’s not my job.’” #billionpounds
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Ashley Dyer Heads Hooper Sow Farm Farrowing Department
As the farrowing department head, Ashley and her team of Selene, Vivian, Dolly, David, Zory, Hugo, Alonzo and Yulissa—to name a few—will receive the gestating sows within a day or two of farrowing, make them comfortable, monitor health and feed intake, and then assist with birthing.