Raising Pigs with a Purpose-FCS Swine Production

If you’re from Northwest Iowa you know that the hog industry is big business around this area. As you drive through the country you will notice the many confinements filled with pigs to feed a growing world. It shouldn’t surprise you that the hog industry has a large impact on business at Farmers Coop Society. FCS has a strong feed division and part of that division is our swine management team. 

Brady Goslinga is our Swine Production Manager. Brady grew up in Orange City, IA and still lives outside of Orange City today. He lives on an acreage with his wife Kim and their three young children. Brady went to Dordt College and graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. After college he came to work at Farmers Coop Society as a Swine Specialist. He did this for a year before needing major back surgery in 2012. During recovery he worked in the office and recognized a need for leadership and coordination from a vantage point other than being in barns every day. This need has grown into the position he occupies today.

When I asked Brady what his typical day is like he just gave me a grin and replied, “There isn’t a typical day” and that’s the way he likes it. He is constantly communicating and coordinating between the swine specialists, growers, pig owners, and building owners for over 200 sites. Brady would tell you that he’s a perfectionist by nature and this aides in providing the care the management team does for the pigs and their customers. With tight margins and a live product that is always unpredictable, he hates mistakes and is constantly chasing perfection. This challenge is the reason he loves coming to work each day. 

Although he “manages” the team Brady will be the first to tell you that his work is only as good as his team’s work and that he couldn’t be successful without the talented group of people getting it done each and every day. As of today, Brady has eight swine specialists out in the field - Wesley Budden, Dan Goslinga, Randy Tietgen, Chris Bosma, Darrin Recker, Mitchell Post, Joah Bakker, and Jeff Kiel. These guys have a challenging job – it’s demanding, fast paced, and requires a great deal of organization and hard work. The number one benefit of having Farmers Coop Society manage your pigs is this group. This team is extremely attentive to the needs of the animals and growers, working tirelessly year-round to provide high quality service.

Our swine specialists have a lot of responsibilities. They count and grade each group of pigs within 24 hours of arrival at the nursery or finisher. They also perform weekly site visits early in the growing phase to ensure pigs are being cared for properly and building environment and ventilation is ideal for the size of the animal. Once pigs are off and running they stop by as needed to perform health checks, post-mortems on dead pigs, and diagnose disease and execute treatment with the help of local veterinarians. Each time they visit a site the swine specialist leaves a report for the grower to see how they are performing, this report also goes to the owners of the pigs to give them a snapshot of how things are going in the growing period. Once pigs are getting close to market, our swine specialists also mark/select each pig to go out of the barn on every load. This is an extremely important part of the job and something Brady watches very closely because the last 4-6 weeks in a group can impact profit/loss unlike any other time. Every packer has a “box” which allows for premiums if each pig weighs within that box, if pigs are marked and sold appropriately profit maximization will be achieved. 

When you talk about future growth with Brady, he’s got one thing on his mind – smart growth. He only wants to grow if the team can still provide the best care for the animals. He doesn’t want to miss something and he doesn’t want to lose touch with his growers or pig owners. This type of commitment to service is what sets Farmers Coop Society apart. We truly care about our customers and getting the job done well. If you are interested in how our swine management team could help you, give Brady a call sometime.