Jerry & Nancy Croghan

Jerry and Nancy Croghan grew up on farms, but the industry was tough when they married in 1985. After college, they moved to Arizona, where Jerry constructed houses and Nancy was a nurse.

Five years later, Jerry’s dad was looking to retire from farming, and the Croghans returned home to take over in 1991. When their small farrow-to-finish operation—about 60 sows—wasn’t profitable enough, they tried cows and sheep. Then in 1999, they built a hog site with Murphy Family Farms—a financial move that allowed them to stay farming. Recently, the Croghans purchased their family farm, which is “a dream come true,” Jerry says.

They now market nearly 8,800 head annually as wean-to-finish

Jerry and Nancy Croghan of Manning, Iowa, center, are named Master Pork Producers during Iowa Pork Congress on Jan. 26, 2022. Presenting the award are Dr. Chris Rademacher, Iowa State University, left, and Dennis Liljedahl, 2021 president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

contract growers for Smithfield Hog Production, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, which acquired Murphy Family Farms. Jerry is a longtime member of Smithfield’s Regional Advisory Council for the Midwest, expressing ideas, concerns, and questions to management. In 2016, the Croghans participated in Smithfield’s Raised Without Antibiotics program, exceeding production expectations by implementing a rigorous biosecurity plan.

An all-hands-on-deck approach has fostered their success. Besides helping on the farm, for 28 years Nancy has been a full-time registered nurse at Westside Medical Clinic, affiliated with Carroll-based St. Anthony Regional Hospital. The couple are proud of the work ethic instilled in their five kids. Among their chores were watering trees, gardening, loading pigs, and washing barns.

The Croghans also have 120 acres of corn and 60 acres of soybeans, and in 2017 received the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award.

Jerry, 58, and Nancy, 57, are members of the Shelby County Pork Producers, volunteer at the Iowa Pork Tent at the Iowa State Fair, and contribute to the National Pork Producers Council Strategic Investment Program. In 2017, Jerry was part of the Iowa Pork Leadership Academy.

The Croghans are active in their church and community. In addition, after their oldest daughter was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, they got involved with the Family Cancer Network. The nonprofit organization assists with travel, rent, groceries, and more for patients battling blood and pediatric cancers.

Their children include Justin (Paige), 35; Chantel (Adam) Thompson, 34; Megan (Chris) Reischl, 32; Jerad (Shelby), 30; and Amber (Clayton) Michael, 29. They have 10 grandchildren.