Celebrating 10 years

Iowa Select Farms follows five pillars in SelectCare program

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
Mrs. Claus, aka Allyson Mathisen, a communications specialist with Iowa Select Farms, hands out a pork loin during Operation Christmas Meal held in December 2020 in Fort Dodge.

IOWA FALLS ­– “Everyone within our business is a leader,” reflects Noel Williams, chief operating officer at Iowa Select Farms. “What they do and how they operate influences others and for us as a company to be successful, everyone must uphold SelectCare.”

This year, Iowa Select Farms celebrates the 10th anniversary of its SelectCare program.

“SelectCare is our guiding principle on how we operate the business,” Williams continued.

What began as an animal well-being initiative has evolved into a comprehensive program. “Every decision, every strategy encompasses the pillars of SelectCare,” Williams said.

Those pillars are caring for animals, people, the environment, and our communities and state. Let’s take a look at each one.

Animal care

The originator of the program, animal care is our commitment to meeting the needs of each individual pig. Iowa Select Farms accomplishes that with science-based practices for health and nutrition and industry-leading caretaker training, certification and verification.

“Our verification happens through internal farm assessments, independent third-party audits and our expert Production Well-Being Advisory Committee,” said Cassandra Jass, DVM and head of the Production Well-Being Department. “Our team is dedicated to helping our caretakers as they strive for continuous improvement.”

People care

We recognize our employees are the key to our success.

“During COVID, we have put into place another layer to our SelectCare program with Compassionate Care, which allows flexible hours and generous leave benefits to help us all get through this trying time,” said Kerry Sweeney, director of human resources. “We work hard to train, develop and challenge our employees to grow within the company. We believe in recognizing a job well done and finding unique and thoughtful ways to show our appreciation through meat giveaways and fun outings for the entire family at Adventureland and the Iowa State Fair.”

Community care

We take care of the communities where we have farms, employees and contractors, and believe in making positive contributions that make our state stronger. Much of that work happens through the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation.

“The most exciting part about the Foundation is seeing how involved our employees are,” reflected Jen Sorenson, director of communications and head of the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation. “Whether it be restocking a Little Free Pantry or handing out pork loins, our employees take pride in giving back to their communities.”

Environment care

“Caring for the environment is the responsibility of every farmer,” said Brian Blumhagen, director of environmental services and maintenance. “Ensuring our farms are safe places for our employees to work and our animals to grow and live is imperative.”

But, Iowa Select Farms’ dedication to the environment goes well beyond the walls of a barn. The company believes in being good neighbors and works hard to protect the environment, serve as industry leaders in land stewardship and add value to natural resources by replenishing the crop ground with essential nutrients from swine manure.

Consistency is key

All four pillars are clearly connected and Iowa Select Farms and its commitment to each pillar is rivaled only by its commitment to building a team that lives out the principles.

“In order to engage, execute, live our mission and values we first educate and empower everyone on the principles that we live by and stand for,” Williams said. “Living by our values does not occur without education and reinforcement of our company principles.”

In such a dynamic business as pig farming, change is inevitable.

“The operational strategies within each pillar will change as we adapt to business, operational and societal challenges and needs,” Williams said when asked about what is next for SelectCare. “But the overall commitment to each pillar stays consistent.”

— Courtesy of Iowa Select Farms


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