Matt & Angie Schnepf, Le Mars

The Schnepfs have a wean-to-finish operation and market about 18,000 pigs per year. They built their first 2,000-head finishing barn in 2002, followed by a 2,400-head finisher in 2006. Matt custom-fed until 2009, when they started feeding their own pigs. In 2011, they added a 2,400-head nursery, which is used to keep the finishers full. Today, they rent a third finisher that completes their seven-week flow.

Hogs are delivered primarily to Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls, S.D., through a third-party broker.

Since being recognized as a Master Pork Producer in 2013, they have gained extra hands around the farm. Their boys—Mitchell, 16, Max, 14, Mick, 11—are now old enough to sort and load pigs, administer vaccinations, and powerwash barns. The Schnepfs, along with Matt’s father, grow roughly 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans. All three boys are able to run the grain cart in the field, and Mitchell and Max can haul with wagons on gravel roads.

Matt and Angie Schnepf of Le Mars, Iowa, center, receive the Pork All-American award 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.

“They do so much,” says Angie, who works off the farm as a teacher. “I don’t know how we did it before they were here.”

Matt and his dad also commercially haul livestock—and some grain—for others in the area. They were a leased semi operator for nearly 20 years, but recently purchased a second truck and two trailers.

The couple is active with the Plymouth County Pork Producers. Matt has served as chairman of membership for several years, and assists with grilling events. In 2017, Matt helped launch the Adopt- A-Pig program to revive a “dying” hog show at the Plymouth County Fair. FFA and 4-H youth—particularly those who do not have facilities to house a swine project—are paired with a mentor, attend barn visits and educational workshops, and have the opportunity to show a barrow and a gilt during the fair. The effort is a partnership between the county pork producers and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Beyond that, the couple volunteer at the Iowa Pork Tent at the Iowa State Fair. Angie is a 4-H Club co-leader. Matt is a member the Plymouth County Cattlemen’s Association, and this year has been helping to coach his youngest son’s basketball team.