Iowa producer continues family tradition with pigs | Agriculture

CARROLL, Iowa — Aaron Juergens went to college to study business management, and while he believed he would pursue a career in agriculture, he didn’t plan on managing pigs.

“I did a lot of things at our family’s feed mill prior to it being sold in 2012,” he says. “I didn’t know I would be doing this, but it’s worked out pretty well.”

Juergens, who farms near here in western Iowa, manages more than 100,000 nursery and finishing spaces for Sampson Farms. He and his wife Chelsey have two children — Jax, 5, and Holland, 18 months.

He earned a business management degree from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, and returned to Carroll to join the family’s farming and business operation. Today, he owns a contract finishing facility, working with Seaboard Farms

His father Ron also has a finishing site, as do his brother, Peter, and his sister, Tiffany. Aaron oversees all the sites.

The family owns a nursery, with pigs weighing 12 to 13 pounds when they arrive on the farm. They enter the finishers at about 60 pounds, and are marketed through the Seaboard plant in Sioux City, Iowa.

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“Dad had a farrow-to-finish operation, so we’ve been around pigs most of our lives,” Juergens says.

Six groups of nursery pigs are delivered annually, with two and a half turns in each finisher each year. Pigs are sorted so the sizes of the pigs at marketing are uniform.

In addition to his farming duties, Juergens is also very active in the hog industry. He currently serves as southwest region vice president for the Iowa Pork Producers Association, serving on the finance and producer education committees.

Juergens was named a Master Pork Producer in 2014. He also has participated in the Iowa Pork Leadership Academy and the National Pork Producer Council‘s Pork Leadership Institute, and has been an Operation Main Street speaker for more than 10 years.

In 2009, Juergens and his brother, Peter, received the Iowa Environmental Steward Award, followed by the national Pork Industry Environmental Steward Award in 2010. In 2011, they were recognized with the first Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award by the state of Iowa.

Juergens has also been active in a number of groups in the Carroll community, including the Rotary Club and the New Hope Village board of directors.

“I believe we need to be involved with our industry and our community,” he says. “I think it’s important that we give back.”

Juergens says things seem to be going well despite some building damage caused by weather issues.

“We’re very happy with our arrangement with Seaboard,” he says. “It takes a lot of the stress out of it for us, which we enjoy.”

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