Ben Reck is proud to be part of a multigeneration family farm. In 1998, he moved onto the farm where his grandpa once lived and his dad grew up. He finishes about 8,500 pigs per year. Half are marketed to JBS in Marshalltown, through Big Stone Marketing, and the other half to Tyson. However, Ben has purchased shares in WholeStone Farms in Fremont, Neb., and plans to start transitioning to there.
Ben is a shareholder in two Pipestone sites—he receives 6,000 head per year from Silver Top, a 2,800-head sow farm in Aurora, and 2,500 head annually from Blake’s Point, a 5,800-head sow farm in southwestern Wisconsin.
Ben and his dad put up a feed mill around 2008. They mix their own feed and recently moved to a fully automated process, installing a microtable and running a BatchNet system. They work with Iowa Farm Automation (IFA) in Stanley. Previously a full-time job, they now simply program in a load and return in an hour or so. If there’s any interruption, the system sends a notification via text message.
Ben has 575 acres of corn, most of which is run through the mill, and 225 acres of soybeans, along with 50-head of beef cattle. His brother helps as needed, especially during the fall and spring. Ben says his grandpa, 89, retired about 20 years ago but pulls through every few days to see what’s going on.
Raising awareness about where food comes from and animal care is important, Ben says. After constructing one building, he offered an open house. A couple of high school teachers who stopped by had never been inside such a facility. “I think they realized stuff is done right, and pigs are in a great environment,” Ben said.
For the past five years, Ben has been president of the athletic booster club in the East Buchanan Community School District. He also keeps statistics for high school football games. He has been a member of the Buchanan County Pork Producers since he started raising pigs. In addition, he is a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Winthrop and is active at Buffalo Creek Golf Course in Aurora.
Ben and his wife, Amy, have four boys: Hunter (21), Riley (18), Owen (14) and Gavin (13).