BROOKINGS — Dan Rodas, Spencer, was named a 2017 South Dakota Master Pork Producer and is one of three South Dakota pork producers recognized during the S.D. Master Pork Producer banquet held this January in Sioux Falls.
The S.D. Master Pork Producers is a volunteer organization comprised of allied industry members who have the goals of recognizing outstanding pork producers and promoting pork production in South Dakota. The other South Dakota honorees include: S.D. Master Pork Producers, Lenny Wipf, Lakeview Colony, Lake Andes and Bruce Burkhart, Dell Rapids, and Honorary Master Pork Producer, Jeri Westra, Smithfield, Lennox.
More about 2017 South Dakota Master Pork Producer Dan Rodas
Though growing up on a dairy farm in northeast Iowa, Rodas is a natural pig person and leader.
He started with Pipestone Systems in 2002 and has moved up rapidly, holding supervisory positions at multiple barns. He managed the first barn in the Pipestone System to wean 12 pigs per litter, and now has the best producing barn in their system weaning 35.78 pigs per sow per year.
Rodas leads by example and has high standards for himself and his 18 employees. He believes this projects a “Will Do” attitude to his crew, and strives to develop a team mentality. Also, Dan believes that you have to make the difficult, but right decisions.
His philosophy appears to working because the farm also has a 92 percent farrowing rate, 15.7 pigs born live per litter, and has weaned 14-plus pigs per litter for 54 straight weeks.
Currently they wean at 19 days of age, but plan to build more farrowing rooms and wean at 24 days of age to help the pigs get off to a stronger start at weaning.
The feed for the farm comes from Central Farmers in Montrose.
Thunder Ridge utilizes DNA Genetics, and is also the highest producing farm in the DNA system. To protect the health of the animals, they follow a strict biosecurity plan, and replacement gilts are brought to the farm at weaning. Rodas believes that great protocols are essential to their success, and he also gives a lot of credit to Dr. Luke Minion, Dr. Scott VanderPoel, Dr. Emily McDowell and Jared Hemelstrand as excellent mentors and resources.
For more information regarding pork production in South Dakota, please contact Bob Thaler, professor and SDSU Extension swine specialist, or Ryan Samuel, assistant professor and SDSU Extension swine specialist.