Rod’s career seems to be a family affair, and we’re not talking about him working for a family-owned company. Rod first came to Iowa Select Farms after his “baby brother”, Virgil, encouraged him to apply back in 2006. Nearly all fifteen of those years have been spent working alongside his wife, Carol Ann. His cousin, Chad, is a GDU manager and his Dad also used to work for the company.
“For us, farming is a way of life,” he said. “I was born and raised on a farm near Clearfield and I get to continue working with livestock to this day, which I’m very grateful for.”
Rod’s first job with the company was at Sow 28 in the breeding department. From there, he and his wife went to Gravity G541 and then in 2009, the pair transferred to Conway G540 where they’ve been ever since.
People always ask us how in the heck we’ve managed to work alongside each other all of these years and not go crazy,” he chuckled. “But for us, it just works. We have a home life and a work life, for us they don’t really mix. The minute we leave the farm, even if it was a stressful day, we forget about whatever it was that upset us and start laughing about something else non-work related.”
In his role as manager of Conway, Rod is responsible for ensuring the farm meets their breed targets, general upkeep and that their animals receive excellent daily care. The farm doesn’t provide gilts for one specific farm, rather, they are a part of a pool that supplies gilts when and where they’re needed.
“I really love being a GDU manager,” he said. “It helps that I have an amazing team, whom I’m truly appreciative of. As a manager, I’ve learned more about the impact our farm is making and that’s been neat. It’s nice working somewhere knowing that you’re making a positive impact on the world.”
In case you haven’t picked up on Rod’s optimism yet, we’ll cut right to the chase and let you know he’s one of the most positive guys around. In his free time, he’s an avid gardener and donates nearly all his produce to individuals and families in-need.
“Maybe it’s just the farmer in me, but I just can’t stand the idea of people going hungry,” he said. “Most recently I had someone help get my eggs and veggies to a mom of three kids. I never met her, but I know she really appreciated it.”
That same philanthropic spirit is one of Rod’s favorite things about working at Iowa Select Farms. “The company does so much to give back to our communities,” he said. “They make it a priority to take care of people, including their employees. We’ve grown a lot over the years, but they’ve never stopped caring.”
Speaking of growth, it’s hard for Rod to describe what it’s been like working for the company during the past fifteen years when a tremendous amount of growth occurred.
“From the technology in our barns to biosecurity and even how they build barns now, things have really changed,” he said. “We’ve evolved a lot but at our core, we’re still the same company and I’m grateful to be on the team.”
Congrats on 15 years, Rod. Keep that positivity and enthusiasm flowing!