My name is Katie. About a year and a half ago I gave up my corporate 8-5 job in Des Moines to help my family run a startup business called PigEasy. My work station went from a cubicle and head set to a laptop, briefcase and kitchen table. It’s been an exciting ride.
So, who’s involved?
Dad (Dave) is the brains behind both Klocke Farms and PigEasy. He has always been an intuitive pig guy who doesn’t have any hobbies, unless you want to count inventing things. If you asked him what his idea of a perfect Saturday is, he would answer a quiet shop and something to create.
Growing up on the heels of his father, Herbert, Dad always knew he wanted to be a farmer himself. It has been said that Grandpa Herbert really didn’t have much of a passion for the crop side of farming or the mechanics of all the equipment, but loved working with livestock. Dad was working in the shop and planting corn by the time he reached double digits and shared in Grandpa Herbert’s love of caring for livestock, the hogs particularly.
After high school, Dad enrolled in an agricultural program at Iowa State University. He didn’t get the opportunity to finish, as Grandpa Herbert suffered a debilitating stroke while Dad was a sophomore and passed away that fall. Dad left college soon after to return to the family farm.
Dad, along with his brother, Dennis, adapted their current operation of purebred swine breeding stock to an eventual 2700 head farrow to wean farm that Dad still owns and operates today.
While he hasn’t always held the title of inventor and patent holder, Dad has always created or “retrofitted” tools and items to make the process better or easier. He has never accepted an inefficiency or problem as is and continues to develop ways to make pork production more efficient and easier for the producer and for the pig.
You will see Dad at trade shows and events with me. He enjoys it because he gets to talk pigs with fellow producers… oh yeah, and promote PigEasy products too.
Ben is the oldest Klocke kid. He knew he was going to be a farmer from the moment he could walk. During harvest season, Ben would beg Mom and Dad to let him stay home from school so he could help out and run the grain cart.
Today, Ben runs the day to day operations of the farm and coordinates the manufacturing and shipping of PigEasy products.
Because of Ben and his ability to take care of much of the farming operation, Dad and I are able to travel and promote PigEasy. We couldn’t have both Klocke Farms and PigEasy without him.
Mom (Karen) is our self-proclaimed OSHA representative, but her responsibilities don’t end there. She is also PigEasy and Klocke Farms’ CFO, office administrator, HR department, Controller, Accounting Specialist, Insurance procurer, rock picker-upper, harvest errand runner, dog walker, ambulance driver…. I think this list just scratches the surface.
Mom made the decision to leave her work as a recreational therapist when we were teenagers to be more available to Dad and the farming operation. Thank goodness, because if we were to hire out all that she does, we would have gone broke a long time ago!
Mary & Ross
Mary and Ross are the two younger Klocke kids. Mary graduated from Mount Mercy with her BSN and is a NICU nurse in Des Moines. When she’s not saving babies, she’s cuddling up with her puppy, Reese, and husband, Nick, in Ankeny.
Ross is a senior at the University of Northern Iowa and will be graduating this spring with a degree in Bio-Med. While we couldn’t talk him into veterinary medicine, he’ll be heading to medical school in the coming year.
Mary and Ross are not just our medical consultants. On their days off, you will find them at trade shows and company events helping to promote PigEasy.
Clint & Nick
They call themselves The Outlaws. My husband, Clint, and Mary’s husband, Nick, also get involved in Klocke Farms and PigEasy. When Nick isn’t selling Capital City equipment, he can be seen running the PipePik at trade shows. Clint is a Purchasing Manager during the day, a Captain in the Iowa National Guard on weekends, and a PigEasy consultant and master field tiller during his free time. Dad must have trained us well; marry guys who can drive a tractor!
As the second oldest, in true second oldest fashion, I wasn’t quite sure what my calling was. After high school, I attended the University of Northern Iowa and graduated with a degree in Political Communication and Business Communication.
It wasn’t until my senior year that I knew I wanted to work in the agricultural industry. That fall, I enrolled in a wellness course that was required to graduate. On the day they went over protein and human health, the professor chose to show videos of animal abuse and made claims that in order buy meat that was healthy and to avoid buying meat from farms that abuse animals, you must choose free range, organic, antibiotic free and hormone free (not possible!) at the grocery store. I got angry, called Dad, called the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers and then wrote an email to my professor requesting time in front of the class to present the inaccuracies of her message and to talk about my personal experience being raised on a hog farm. She gave me 20 minutes (woohoo!) and I think I changed some people’s minds. That was the day I realized what my passion is.
As for PigEasy, my title says Marketing and Sales, but it’s really an all-in-all fielding and dispersing of PigEasy information. I love it.
Why a Blog?
Often Dad and I talk about our observations and successes or find an article or theory that really goes hand in hand with what we are promoting, but we don’t know how to best communicate this information to fellow pork producers and industry professionals. We could post it to social media, but it’s tough to get that type of a message out in 250 characters or less.
Additionally, with over 50 years of experience Dad has a few tricks up his sleeve in general with pork production, and we would love to pass that on to anyone it would help.
So what’s this blog going to be about? It’s going to be about pork production, farming, agricultural advocacy, business and most importantly, family; because it all starts and ends with family, right?
Until next time,
“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.” – Anthony Brandt