Bob Rose, 56, bought his first semi-trailer truck to haul woodchips out of a local sawmill. Then he acquired a livestock trailer from an auction, and Rose Transfer LLC started growing by word-of-mouth.
Two decades later, the business now consists of seven trucks and nine trailers. Rose and his eight employees—three drivers and five owner-operators—haul mostly hogs, as well as a few cattle. Among the drivers is Rose’s son, Lane, 20, who joined two years ago and hopes to eventually transition to owner.
Collectively, the crew averages 50 loads per week, covering more than 2,200 miles around Iowa and surrounding states.
“We go to every plant there is,” Rose says. “I drive pretty much every day if there are loads, and try to dispatch and everything on top of that.”
Rose Transfer serves many local producers and has accounts with larger clients, including Big Stone Marketing, affiliated with Pipestone; The Maschhoffs; Murphy-Brown; and Smithfield Foods.
All drivers have received Transport Quality Assurance certification, to ensure they’re handling, moving, and transporting pigs properly. While they’ve experienced minor traffic accidents over the years, Rose feels fortunate to have never had a truck roll over.
“Hog-friendly,” top-of-the-line trailers from Wilson Trailer Co. feature water sprinkler systems, corral gates, and shallow floors that eliminate ramps and ease pig stress. Panels are added to insulate trailers during cold weather. For biosecurity, trailers are washed and disinfected after most every load.
Prior to launching Rose Transfer, he worked at a farrow-to-finish operation for Schneider & Schneider Pork Farms of Waterloo, and at Mid-Iowa Cooperative in La Porte City. He also custom-fed hogs. A few years ago, he became a member of the Buchanan County Pork Producers.
Rose and his wife, Laura, have been married 26 years. Along with Lane, they have two daughters, Courteney, 25, and Lyndesey, 23.