“Being better than the day before,” Isaac said, as he was describing what his goals were for the year ahead. “We are capable of anything and just understanding that we can do it is the first step.”
Isaac Hover is one of Reicks View Farms Sow Managers. He started when he was 16 years old. Eight years later, he’s been a Sow Farm Manager for three years. “I started working here when I was in high school. Once I graduated and went to Hawkeye Community College, I knew I wanted to come back here to work full-time. When I came back, I actually started working in the construction department for a year. I eventually switched over to being a Caretaker where I was caring for the pigs every day” as he said smiling down at a piglet.
Isaac applauds his mentors through the years at Reicks View Farms that got him to where he’s at today. “There was always someone that I could look up to and ask for help. I was never afraid to try something new and get out of my comfort zone,” said Isaac. He now strives to be the same type of mentor to his team so they can grow.
When a new employee starts, they go through an extensive amount of training. “Every employee needs to be Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) certified. After they are certified, we work on their mentoring program which allows them to learn about everything in the department. It’s important to take our time with training as it’s our number one priority.” Once a foundation of knowledge and experience is created through training, quality care can be given for the pigs. Although, it’s a team effort.
“Our team understands what the expectations are and that we can’t do it with just one person.” As a team they work closely together to ensure the pigs are healthy, cared for, and feed for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
There are always challenges that arise. “Being in the pork industry, you know about adversity. There are many up and downs, but remembering to find the positive is what’s important. Having a team like I do helps tremendously because we always have someone to talk to or ask for help.”
When Isaac isn’t supervising over the sow barn, he’s usually conducting FarmChats. A FarmChat uses a technology program to video chat with a classroom and teach them about agriculture.
During the FarmChats, Isaac and his team show the students what a barn looks like, the daily care given to pigs, and all of the technology that is used in the process. Last October, Isaac and his team completed FarmChats across Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois reaching over 600 students.