Employee Spotlight Program
IPPA values the hard work done by pig farmers and employees to provide nutritious protein to consumers. To highlight these dedicated employees, we have created the Employee Spotlight Program in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim.
Each month we are inviting farm owners or employers to nominate their on-farm employees that go above and beyond. Each employee chosen monthly will receive a grilling set, recognition on our social channels and Chop Talk, and be entered to win the grand prize selected in Pork Month, October 2023.
*Nominations are rolling
2023 EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR
Kyle Alexander Jr.
Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) has selected the 2023 Employee Spotlight of the Year, Kyle Alexander. Kyle lives in Lincoln, IL with his wife of 23 years, Christina, and their children, Kylee and Brayden.
Kyle is a Veteran of the United States Army as are both of his parents. After leaving the Army, Kyle was looking for a local opportunity and when assisting another local farmer encountered Ben Conrady and Kyle has been with Tri Pork Inc ever since.
When asked about his favorite part of the job, Kyle says, “The comradery at the farm and working with pigs. Also, the ability to make my own schedule for the day after primary tasks have been completed.”
Kyle enjoys caring for animals and the challenges and successes they present. Kyle says, “Labor is a challenge that effects all facets of the supply chain and at Tri Pork Inc., we are no different. The pigs are the easy part of the day!”
The biggest reward for Kyle is knowing that what he does on the farm holds a greater purpose and is helping feed not only his family but families across the globe.
Kyle will receive recognition at the 2023 IL Pork Expo and a monetary gift certificate in appreciation for all his hard work. Thank you to our partner Boehringer Ingelheim for making this program possible and showing gratitude to the pork industry through their generous contributions.
"Kyle's commitment to Tri Pork Inc., which spans two decades, is a virtue that most today do not possess," says David Conrady, owner of Tri Pork. "We feel very fortunate for the knowledge and ability that Kyle has applied and his ability to care for animals and the people he works with."
January Employee of the Month
Frank has 41 years combined work experience with two different family farm hog operations. In 1980, he worked for a farrow to finish operation: Heggemeir Pork Farm for 21 years. November 1st, 2001, he started working for Maschhoff Pork Farm (MPF), the original 13,000 sow farm that started the company.
To this day, he is still very essential to daily care of sows and piglets at the Breed-to-Wean MPF Coastal Carolina 2,800 head sow farm. He is responsible for all areas of farrowing house production including but not limited to processing, day 1 care, weaning and power washing.
Nominator Rebecca Keal says, “He takes pride in the work that he does. He can figure out any challenge thrown his way. His peers love to be in his presence because of his great sense of humor. We are grateful for Frank's hard work ethic, dedication and to be a committed team member of the MPF pod. Thank you, Frank, for your many years of care on the sow farm!”
In his free time, he loves to spend time raising and selling purebred Dachshund dogs and puppies.
February Employee of the Month
Kyle Alexander Jr.
Congratulations to Kyle Alexander Jr. of Elkhart for being selected as the February Employee Spotlight.
Kyle has worked at Tri Pork Inc. for nearly 24 years. From the beginning, Kyle has worked in all facets of the farm’s farrow-to-finish operations. While here, his primary focus has been on caring for the farm’s growing and finishing pigs. In addition, Kyle assists in training and helping new employees at the farm’s wean-to-finish location.
“Kyle has exhibited sincere dedication to our farm and has been a team member for a long time,” says Thomas Titus with Tri Pork, Inc. Titus continues, “As a family farm, Kyle not only has been a huge part in the success of our pig farm, but also has helped raise multiple generations at Tri Pork as well as Conrady Farms.”
March Employee of the Month
“Tanner Radke is a dedicated employee who is always looking for ways to improve the department he runs and the farm as a whole,” says Phillip Steber, manager of the Borgic Farms Newton Sow Farm. “He will not shy away from a new task, to learn nor will he hesitate to step out of his comfort zone to help complete tasks that need finished. He is an excellent leader and employee who will go far in this industry.”
Tanner has worked at the Newton Sow Farm for 8 years, with his current role as breeding manager.
Way to go, Tanner! Thanks for being a pig-ture perfect employee!
April Employee(s) of the Month
Philip and Caleb Hartman
We would like to congratulate brothers, Philip and Caleb Hartman, as the April Employees of the Month!
The brothers returned home to the family farm after their formal education years were over. Now, Philip is responsible for the 5,600 head site in Sibley, and Caleb oversees approximately 4,000 head site in Fairbury.
“Philip and Caleb are integral parts of the success of Hartman Pork, which continues to be the top tier of Leman Farms contract growers," says Chad Leman of Leman Farms Inc. "They are great examples of the success that hard work, integrity and great communication can bring. Both young men work diligently to ensure pigs are well cared for and the results speak for themselves."
May Employee of the Month
This month we would like to congratulate Travis Huxford as the May Employee of the Month!
Huxford’s passion for the swine industry is evident from just one conversation with him about livestock. He is eager to educate others about the industry and share his knowledge. He is also equally excited to learn new ways to improve the farm.
As the manager of Welsh Swine Productions, Travis oversees the well-being of 5,000 sows and a team of 14 people. He has been with Welsh for four years, and in that time, he has built up his production numbers while also building a culture of commitment within the farm.
Travis is an excellent animal caretaker and manager and is always willing to go the extra mile. He will stay well past regular hours to work through any challenge or task, adapt to new challenges, and implement solutions while maintaining a high production level. The care he shows to pigs, people, and the farm is just one of many examples of his commitment and attention to detail.
Travis’s positive attitude and strong work ethic translates to his employees and motivates them to do their best daily. He leads his team by working alongside them and continuously offers guidance and support as they take on new tasks. He recognizes his team member’s strengths and sets them up for success by placing them in roles where they thrive.
Jeremy Welsh, the owner of Welsh Swine Productions, shared, “Travis is one of a kind, and that is known by anyone that meets him. All I can say is that my family and I are very blessed to have him in our lives.”
Welsh continues, “Travis has been an essential part of the success at Welsh Swine Production, and we are grateful for his leadership, dedication, and passion for raising pigs.”
June Employee of the Month
This month we would like to congratulate Becky Rakers as the June Employee of the Month.
“Becky has been the bright light in our R&D department since she started here 7 years ago,” says Katie Brown of the Maschhoffs. “She's the first one to crack a joke but I guarantee she will also out work you on her worst day.”
Growing up on a dairy farm in southern IL with her family she learned if she takes care of her animals, her animals will take care of her. She took her knowledge of raising dairy and applied it to raising pigs with the added twist of also doing that in a research setting. Quality research was a priority in farm along with producing pigs.
Her way with people has allowed her farm to go above and beyond. But the most wonderful part of working with Becky is knowing how much she cares for her pigs she has on site. Brown continues, “Becky deserves to be highlighted because we all need more people like Becky in this world! She raises the standards, has one of the kindest hearts, and has fun doing the work it takes to innovate the swine industry.”
July Employee of the Month
Nate Weaver is the IPPA July Employee of the Month.
Nate started working in the Nokomis Sow Farm for Borgic Farms as a production technician six years ago and has continued to work his way up to a farrowing lead. Since December of 2020, Nate has been a part of the field services team that works with contract grower partners, mostly in Macoupin & Montgomery County areas. “Nate is always willing to learn or take on a new challenge and never complains about it,” states Matt Frizzo, Director of Production & Projects at Borgic Farms.
Today, Nate works with about 20 farms overseeing pig placement, health, and marketing.
August Employee of the Month
Sam Floyd is the August IPPA Employee of the Month. Sam grew up locally to Steidinger Livestock in Piper City, IL. She attended the University of Illinois, planning to work in the dairy industry. At graduation, the local job available was working with pigs instead, with Lehmann Brothers in Strawn, IL. Sam took that job and started a career in the pig industry.
Over the past 6 years, Sam has developed her skill set as the wean to finish production manager for the 110,000 pigs that the system finishes. Sam has been intentional about developing relationships with their contract growing sites. She influences those growers through these strong relationships she has developed, some of that through hard work side by side with them as they place pigs, treat pigs, or market pigs. She is very inquisitive, wanting to understand what is happening and what she can do to get better. Sam is great at necropsy skills, trying to understand why mortality is happening. This is tremendous information to the vet team so we can make the right decision. Sam is also very strong at building a repeatable system through mapping of processes and protocols. There is minimal site to site variation in pig performance through her execution of these processes.
Sam found her calling in pigs over dairy cows and become an invaluable talent to the Steidinger Livestock team.
September Employee of the Month
Congratulations to Dakota Steber of Newton, IL for being selected as our September Employee of the Month.
“Dakota has a tremendous work ethic and strives daily to increase his skill and ability,” says Philip Steber, Farm Manager.
“He is always hungry to learn and do more on the farm and within the system. He is an
enthusiastic leader to the team and won't hesitate to do any job on the farm that needs to be completed. It is a lot of fun to watch him develop and grow.”
Dakota has 15 years in the pork business. He has spent the last 5 years as Assistant Manager at the Borgic Farms Newton Sow Site.