As contract growers for Smithfield Foods, Bruce Edwards and his son Kerry own and operate 10 barns on four wean-to-finish sites. They average 22,000 head per year, marketed to Smithfield plants.

Bruce started as a feeder-to-finish producer for Murphy Family Farms in 1996 before transitioning to a wean-to-finish operation. Kerry returned to the family farm operation in fall 2000, raising bucket calves and later feeder cattle before investing in his first hog site about 15 years later.

Kerry Edwards and Bruce Edwards were named Master Pork Producers during Iowa Pork Congress on Jan. 22, 2020. From left are Jason Ross of Iowa State University’s Iowa Pork Industry Center, Kerry Edwards, Bruce Edwards, and the 2020 Iowa Pork Producers Association President Mike Paustian.

Bruce and Kerry take pride in the appearance and functionality of their barns and surrounding grounds. They perform nearly all maintenance and promptly fix issues. In summer 2015, they purchased a two-barn neighboring site in desperate need of upgrades. The next summer, they bought a four-barn site that was also rundown. These sites—some of the worst-performing within the Smithfield system—are now among the best. In addition, both men are committed to biosecurity and sanitation, even washing rafters between turns.

In 2017, two sites were selected for third-party animal care audits, which involved a review of past and current records, viewing the pigs and facility, along with questions Kerry addressed. Both sites received 100%, with the auditor referring to Kerry as a “superstar” for his knowledge and attention to animal care.

They also have 750 acres of corn and 250 acres of soybeans, and raise and finish 2,200 head of beef cattle per year.

Bruce and his wife, Diane, are active members of the Summit Evangelical Free Church in Alta. Bruce volunteers to drive the church’s bus to youth gatherings and mission work. Kerry serves as a church elder. Diane previously served on the county’s Extension Council board.

Edwards family

Kerry was a member of the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s 2018 Leadership Academy, and serves on IPPA’s Animal Well-Being Committee. He stays abreast of political issues and their impact on the pork and agricultural sectors, often calling local and state legislators on topics. Both Bruce and Kerry are investors in the National Pork Producers Council’s Strategic Investment Program, and members of the Buena Vista County Pork Producers.

Bruce and Diane have three other grown sons, Kurt, Kris and Kyle, who are also involved with farming. Kerry and his wife, Susan, have three children: Matthew (18), Miles (7) and Adley (6).