HOLSTEIN, Iowa — Allan Schmidt started driving a truck after graduating from high school, but as his family grew, he knew he needed a change.
“I was never at home, and that bothered me,” he says. “I saw an ad in the paper that AMVC (Audubon-Manning Veterinary Clinic) was looking for people to raise pigs, and I thought it sounded pretty good.”
Fifteen years later, Schmidt has three finishing barns of his own and takes care of two others. Each barn holds 2,400 pigs, arriving at Schmidt’s west-central Iowa farm weighing 10 to 13 pounds. Schmidt rents out his crop ground, but utilizes manure from his buildings on the land.
“Manure is very valuable to us, and we like that we can use it on our ground,” he says.
Schmidt says both his father and grandfather raised pigs while he was growing up.
“We didn’t have many, but I did enjoy working with them when I was a kid,” he says. “I thought this was something I would be able to do.”
Schmidt, who was named a Master Pork Producer earlier this year by the Iowa Pork Producers Association, also has some help with the pigs. His youngest son Grant, 19, works full time on the farm.
“We’re working him into the operation, and I definitely needed the help,” he says. “We have a couple manure tankers as well, and he helps with that. It’s good to have him here.”
Schmidt and his wife Liz have two other children — Preston, 23, and Addison, 17. Liz works as a teacher’s aide in Ida Grove.
About 24,000 pigs are marketed annually from Schmidt’s facilities. His barns include pan feeders, which he feels helps all the pigs start growing quickly once they arrive on his Ida County operation.
Schmidt was one of AMVC’s first growers to install a Danish bench system in barn entryways to assist with biosecurity.
“We want to keep everything as clean as we can,” he says.
Each site has a paved driveway, with plenty of room for trucks to maneuver.
Schmidt also employs local youths on the farm, and sponsors 4-Hers who show pigs at the county fair.
“I enjoy teaching people how pigs are raised,” he says.
Schmidt says he takes his work seriously, and says it is very rewarding.
“I like the fact that I am able to help feed people by doing what I do every day,” he says. “Pork producers are helping to feed the world, and I like being a part of that.”