Indiana Egg Farmer
“It’s a very exciting, dynamic time to be working in the egg industry.”
Growing up, Sam Krouse witnessed the passion his dad and grandfather showed as they cared for their flocks at Midwest Poultry Services (MPS). He worked summers at the family farm processing and packing eggs. After college, Krouse worked outside the family business in economic development and brand management positions and earned his MBA from the University of Michigan. In 2015 he returned to MPS, working alongside his father and brother, guided by the family values of honesty, integrity, and safety.
Krouse gained experience in production, spent a year raising pullets, and now heads up business development and consumer relations.
“Working in the family business proves to have more benefits than challenges,” said Krouse. “We’ve created an open environment where everyone is free to challenge one another, and we have the flexibility to do what is right while supporting each other along the way. This industry can be stressful, and nobody understands that better than your family.”
Krouse’s favorite part of the job is the continual learning. “Our industry is changing so dramatically and bringing so many challenges that we need to keep learning and growing every day. It’s a very exciting, dynamic time to be working in the egg industry.”
As a leader, Krouse focuses on creating a course of sustained success, knowing it will benefit MPS and MPS employees, many who have served for generations. “Keeping the focus on the core values, everything else trickles down to keep a positive spirit of continuous support and improvement. How much better can we be than yesterday?”
Midwest Poultry Services is a sixth-generation family-owned business operating since 1875 and is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in egg production this year.
“Taking care of hens and producing an affordable food source is rewarding.”
“Day or night, my job never stops. Caring for a flock of hens requires us to be flexible, working at odd times and willing to give our attention to the hens as needed.” Jason Ramsdell, the general manager of Dakota Layers, is responsible for the flock on his family’s farm. He dedicates his days to overseeing the South Dakota company’s layer farm, pullet farm, and processing department.
Ramsdell joined his family’s farm shortly after he acquired his Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from South Dakota State University. Starting as a construction manager, he utilized his skills to design belted, high rise hen housing and later stepped in as a processing manager before moving to his current position as the general manager. Not only does Ramsdell get to do what he loves every day, he also gets to work alongside his father, Scott, the CEO, his wife Tracy, the marketing manager, and his brother-in-law, who is Dakota Layers’ legal counsel.
There is no typical day on the farm; Ramsdell’s schedule is different every day. He schedules his time a week in advance to ensure he visits each area of the farm. Ramsdell showers in (an important biosecurity step to protect the hens from diseases) to the layer barn and spends a full day checking on the hens and the team in the production area. He also showers in and spends a full day at the pullet farm. Ramsdell’s favorite part of the job is “constantly interacting with employees and caring for our hens.”
The remainder of his time is spent overseeing the processing department, manure and grounds keeping and other areas. Ramsdell even takes the farm’s local delivery truck out to deliver eggs occasionally.
“My family loves this lifestyle. Taking care of hens and producing an affordable food source is rewarding.” Both of his children enjoy watching the chicks grow, reworking eggs, and helping around the farm.
Egg farmers go about their business quietly, with a simple but focused commitment on continuous improvements in how they care for and raise their hens to produce eggs. This care starts with forethought into how best to design the system that egg farmers will use to house, feed and care for their laying hens.The goal of this planning? Egg farms that are thoughtfully designed and constructed so that when the farms are in operation:
The process of learning about and improving these systems never ends. Egg farmers are always working with top scientists, researchers, engineers and technical experts, studying their egg farming systems, looking for ways to make them better. When they find these improvements, the changes are incorporated into the next generation of egg farms’ design and operation.
The results of egg farmers’ care and commitment speak for themselves….
Farmers do this because it is the nature of farming – a quiet focus on solving problems and using resources wisely, efficiently and productively.
And what makes all of this so amazing is the scale – 90 billion+ eggs.
Care, commitment, seeking continuous improvement, attention to details, with a focus on caring well for their hens, producing 90 billion eggs, and doing all of this responsibly in order to protect the environment – this is the quietly amazing story of eggs, hens, farmers and the environment.