Get in the Swine Web- Q&A with former Pork Producer Randy Curless and now Producer Services Manager at PigTek

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Get in the Swine Web is a series of Pork Industry professionals which engage in a Question and Answer session. These professionals talk about with Industry hot topics, there specific expertise, Opinions, and a little insight to who they are personally!

Randy Curless is a Lifetime grain, cattle and hog farmer, now working with the swine division of Chore-Time Brock, PigTek as their Producer Services Manager.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
I knew you back in the Good Old Days when you were the owner at Liberty Swine Farms in Wabash Indiana. As a lifetime Swine and Grain farmer what made you decide to exit the business?

Answer (Randy Curless):
The short answer is I was totally burnt out, it just wasn’t enjoyable anymore. I had no family members interested in working the farm, we lost money in 2016 and I was working on getting the bank info together to apply for an operating loan that I was going to be paying on for 5 years and I called my wife in to the office and said, Why am I doing this?

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
What is the best advice you can give Producers now or secret Production tip?

Answer (Randy Curless)
You have to really love pigs, the work, and the roller coaster ride it will take you on – it’s not for the faint of heart.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
We see you’re now a Producer Services manager at Pig Tek. How are you helping Producers?

Answer (Randy Curless):
I was hired to bring a producer’s perspective to PigTek. I want to be here for producers that work the barns. I can best help producers by understanding their needs. I enjoy talking with producers, helping them find the parts they need, or talking about swine equipment they wish we would make, or changes to the way we make something. Many times, they find out we already make what they are looking for.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
News story of the month. Has there been a Pork Industry news story the last month that has grasped your attention?

Answer (Randy Curless):
This whole year has been attention grabbing news. From the headlines of trade deals being renegotiated, tariffs, ASF, COVID19 – how many times have producers thought to themselves… I can hold on, I just need to hold on until “this” is over, then another gut punch and you are back to wondering how can I survive this.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
Are you ever tempted to get back into Pork Production?

Answer (Randy Curless):
Sometimes I wish I had kept a finishing barn, so I was still involved with day to day production of pigs, but I really enjoy what I am doing, I do a great deal of traveling with my job, so it would not have been practical for me to operate a barn with this position.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
Do you have a favorite memory on the Farm raising Pigs?

Answer (Randy Curless):
I opened the barn doors of Liberty back in 2006 with Social Media, first My Space, then Facebook and twitter. I have so many photos of our employee teams, farm tours, Ag in the classroom talks etc. I really enjoyed all that. It opened a lot of doors for me and serves as some of my best memories.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Answer (Randy Curless):
I’m much more comfortable around sows than people. My current career has really pushed me out of my comfort zone – but I am enjoying it.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
How do you feel about Industry Consolidation and the Family Farm? Where do you see the Industry in five years?

Answer (Randy Curless):
You can look back on every specific year that our industry had record losses and see the pattern of loosing farm numbers. Family farms, just like mine (I was the 5th generation) that said we can’t keep doing this. Not just in Swine, but dairy, beef cattle, and even grain operations. This year, I fear there will be a record number of family’s leaving. There will be farms that grow too… family farms that have new generations coming on board will buy out farms wanting to leave. It’s inevitable. People want to say big is bad, but many of these large farms provide the opportunity for smaller family farms to grow and bring on new generations by building and operating grow-finisher barns. It’s not all bad.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
How can Swine Producers benefit from PigTek? What is something they do not know about the company, the product line and how you can help them.

Answer (Randy Curless):
I think the biggest surprise to people is how few employees we actually have working at PigTek. In our U.S. division (we have a division in Vietnam as well) we operate with less than 30 people. Our parent company, Chore-Time, makes a lot of the equipment and has a large employee base, but PigTek has our own engineering, service tech, customer service and sales teams. We work as a very close group, each of us wearing many hats. I think that gives us the ability to work closer to the farms, make product changes quicker, uphold our quality control, and build with personal pride.

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