Ryan Bartachek — Masonville, Buchanan County

Ryan Bartachek has worked for Quasqueton-based G&W Pork since 2006. He co-manages a 500-head sow unit and takes care of a 2,400-head finisher site.


As a high-schooler, Ryan Bartachek was drawn to a career in agriculture. But he wasn’t sure exactly what area. Many of his neighbors were raising hogs, so he thought, “I’ll give that shot.”

He “immediately fell in love” and in 2006 started a summer internship with Quasqueton-based G&W Pork, owned and operated by neighbor Al Wulfekuhle. Nearly 17 years later, Bartachek is still with G&W.

In 2009 when Bartachek got married, Wulfekuhle was looking to move to town. So Bartachek purchased Wulfekuhle’s house and a 500-head sow unit near his parents in Masonville. Along with co-managing that sow farm, Bartachek takes care of a 2,400-head finisher site. G&W finishes about 50,000 pigs annually.

He also heads up G&W’s marketing, from selling pigs to buying corn and soybean meal. Plus, he handles day-to-day business such as meeting with an insurance agent to review policies, or a nutritionist to go over feed budgets. His wife Audrey is part of the G&W crew, too. She took over the bookwork a few years ago.

Bartachek, 37, hasn’t lived on a farm his entire life, but “was always the weird kid in town playing with little ERTL tractors.” He was 13 when his family moved back to the family farm, which at the time was strictly row crops. Today, in addition to pigs, Bartachek has 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans.

Bartachek is a longtime member of the Buchanan County Pork Producers, and has served as president and on the board of directors. He helps with grilling events and recruits G&W employees to staff the pork producers booth during the Buchanan County Fair.

Farmers being active in the community is huge for industry advocacy, Bartachek believes. A generation ago, farmers were typically the hero in a story, he says, whereas now, TV and online narratives often accuse farmers of wrongdoing.

“We need to continue to share our story with the general public,” says Bartachek, who noted that educating friends and family is a good place to start. “They hear the information from a trusted person, so hopefully, if their friends say something that’s not quite right or a half truth, they can set the story straight.”

The Bartacheks, with their kids Evelyn, 12, and Jack, 8, attend St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Manchester.

Dan Greenfield — Kamrar, Hamilton County

Dan Greenfield is a production manager with HANOR, and also is a contract grower for the company. He owns a 3,000-head feed-to-finish site.


Dan Greenfield jokes that his career with pigs started at birth. His dad would set his car seat on a stall in the farrowing barn, and cover him with a blanket to keep flies off.

But Greenfield, 40, didn’t get rolling professionally until college, when he took care of barns as an independent contractor for Minnesota-based New Fashion Pork. He would continue that for a couple of years after graduating from Iowa State University in 2006.

Then in 2008, he accepted a similar position with HANOR, and in 2011 moved to full-time as a production supervisor, overseeing 65,000 pig spaces.

In the meantime, HANOR was expanding with the building of Seaboard Triumph Foods in Sioux City. As the company grew to accommodate, Greenfield transitioned into his present role as production manager in 2016. He now oversees about 250,000 spaces and six employees.

Pigs weren’t always on Greenfield’s radar—after high school, he considered teaching. But when his grandpa’s unexpected death left the family farm short-handed, Greenfield found himself coming home from college to help that first harvest afterward.

“Something changed in me that fall,” he recalls. “I realized this is where I want to be. This is the future I want.”

However, his dad and uncle’s roughly 800-acre corn and soybean operation wasn’t enough to keep him there—he currently farms just 35 acres of that. Raising pigs has allowed him to stay local, and provided flexibility when he needs to help his dad.

In addition to his job with HANOR, in 2020 he purchased a 3,000-head feed-to-finish site from a HANOR grower, and contract feeds for HANOR. Pigs are marketed by HANOR to Seaboard. He has hay ground, too, to make 2,500 to 3,000 small square bales annually.

And while Greenfield handles the farm, his wife Jessica manages Pickles Pub, a restaurant in Kamrar that they purchased in 2020.

Giving back to their community is a priority for the Greenfields. Through Pickles Pub, they sponsor sports teams, and donate to school activities and the county fairgrounds. Greenfield is involved with the Little Wall Lake chapter of Ducks Unlimited and the Hamilton County Pork Producers, and helps grill at the Iowa Pork Tent during the Iowa State Fair. He also coaches the youth flag football and basketball teams of their boys, Wyatt, 9, and Waylon, 7.

Aaron Hinkeldey — Aurelia, Cherokee County

A fifth-generation farmer, Aaron Hinkeldey has a feeder-to-finish operation that includes about 8,000 hog spaces. He custom feeds for The Maschhoffs.


Aaron Hinkeldey’s family is five generations deep raising pigs.

“That’s what Grandpa did, that’s what Dad did, so that’s what I wanted to do,” he says.

When Hinkeldey was young, his family owned a farrow-to-finish operation and “did it all.” But in 1997, they transitioned to growing for Land O’Lakes, remodeling an existing finisher and building three more.

Hinkeldey now custom feeds for The Maschhoffs, the Illinois-based company that bought Land O’Lakes in 2005. His feeder-to-finish operation includes about 8,000 hog spaces, and he finishes 22,000 pigs annually. Most are marketed to Farmland Foods, a division of Smithfield.

In addition, he grows more than 500 acres of corn, and 500 acres of seed beans for Pioneer.

After graduating from Iowa State University in 2010, Hinkeldey returned home and purchased a roughly 1,800-head hog site from his dad. In 2012, he built a 2,400-head tunnel barn. And in 2015, he expanded his total spaces to 8,000 when he purchased the home site from his dad, who was officially retiring from the hog business.

Providing a future in farming for his family is “huge” for Hinkeldey, 36. He and his wife Nicole have three kids Harlan, 9, Davis, 7, and Elleanor, 4, all of whom love tagging along to do chores. Hinkeldey works to teach them proper pig handling techniques and sustainable livestock and land-management practices. He is hopeful that his passion for raising quality pork to feed the world will rub off onto them.

He’s also willing to pass along knowledge to anyone who’s interested. When his neighbor, Brayden, reached out asking to learn about pigs, Hinkeldey didn’t hesitate: “Absolutely, let’s go.” The high-schooler now helps load and sort pigs, and does chores when Hinkeldey is away.

Another top priority for Hinkeldey is community involvement. He is a trustee for Diamond Township; vice president of the Galva Fire Board; coach and board member for Alta-Aurelia Little League; member of the Cherokee County Pork Producers; and member and trustee at St. John Lutheran Church in Alta.

Civic engagement, Hinkeldey believes, is a chance to tell others about farming and show that farmers truly care about keeping their communities thriving and successful for years to come.

Marv & Sue Holtkamp — Donnellson, Lee County

Marv Holtkamp has been raising pigs for more than 50 years. His wife, Sue, proudly supports his passion: "He takes better care of these animals than some people take care of their children."


Why is Marv Holtkamp still raising pigs after all these years?

“That is a good question,” he’ll tell you. “I just really love to take care of the hogs.”

And that’s no exaggeration, according to his wife Sue. She proudly supports his devoted passion: “He likes to see the livestock thrive and grow. I think he takes better care of these animals than some people take care of their children.”

The Holtkamps own Pondersoa Farms and for nearly 25 years have been contract feeders for Midwest-based TriOak Foods, now JBS Foods. Marv Holtkamp is the sole caretaker of the grow-finish operation, and markets about 5,500 pigs annually to JBS. In addition, he has 72 acres of tillable land, on which he rotates corn and soybeans.

Marv Holtkamp became interested in livestock as a high-schooler helping his dad with chores. That led to a career in swine that’s spanned more than five decades. He also worked as a quality assurance chemist for the Dial Corp.—now Conagra—in Fort Madison for almost 25 years.

Sue Holtkamp, a “city girl” from New Jersey, doesn’t directly handle the pigs, but prepares meals for farmhands, helps with bookwork, and is a strong advocate for the industry. She taught for 17 years at the nearby Catholic preschool.

While their children have left the farm, both remain in Iowa and in the pork industry. Eric Holtkamp owns ControlTech in Bondurant, which makes building automation controllers for hog confinement buildings. Daughter Jen Sorenson is the communications director at Iowa Select Farms, and served as National Pork Producers Council president from 2021 to 2022. Early in her career, she was communications director at the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Over the years, Marv Holtkamp has been active with the Lee County Cattlemen’s Association; Lee County Fair Board; Lee County Pork Producers; Access Energy Cooperative Board of Directors, based in Mount Pleasant; National Guard; local 4-H Club; and various tractor clubs. Sue Holtkamp was an Iowa Cowbelle district director and for decades brought communities together through her devotion to the Sweet Adelines, an international a cappella harmony-style singing group.

The couple contributes to several community and religious-based efforts, including those tied to the Donnellson Public Library, Holy Trinity Catholic School, and St. Mary of the Assumption in West Point, where they are members.

Joel & Laura Huber — Wellman, Washington County

The Hubers run a farrow-to-finish operation, with weaned pigs coming from two sow cooperatives they own with several other producers.


Joel and Laura Huber are proud to be a family owned, independent pork producer. They are continuing a farming legacy that dates back at least five generations.

The couple run Huber Crops & Chops Inc. with Joel’s sister and her husband, Jolisa and Derek Bombei; and Joel’s parents, John and Shirleen Huber, who are semi-retired. They have three full-time employees.

The operation is exactly as the name says—corn, soybeans, and hog barns. The hog operation is farrow to finish, with weaned pigs coming from two sow cooperatives that the Hubers own with several other producers. They also have their own feed mill and trucks to haul pigs to local harvest facilities.

Where you see Joel, one will usually find Laura, too. Laura was a “city kid” who had never been around livestock when the pair met at Central College in Pella. But she has embraced the lifestyle, and today, whether it’s pigs or machinery, she can “do about anything.”

Joel has assumed the title of farm manager. Laura takes care of nursery-sized pigs, oversees employees, checks pig health weekly, assists with crops, and does the farm’s bookwork.

The Hubers are always looking to improve their production practices. They were named Iowa Environmental Stewards by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) in 2015, and Joel Huber received the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award in 2014.

Off the farm, the Hubers have been heavily involved with the Washington County Pork Producers for more than 20 years. When their daughters Alexa, 18, and Callie, 16, were growing up, they spent many weekends at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, promoting and cooking pork. In addition, Joel was on IPPA’s board of directors for four years.

But they don’t stop there. Joel is part of the Washington County Farm Bureau and Iowa Farm Bureau Swine Committee. Laura has served on the Washington County Fair Board the past eight years. Her advocacy led to including local pigs in the 4-H auction, as well as the addition of the Producers’ Grill, where local commodity organizations showcase their products at the fair.

Beyond that, Laura has promoted pork and healthy eating through the Pick a Better Snack program in elementary schools, an initiative of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Washington County.

Tom & Nate Huntley — Renwick, Wright County

The father-son duo farm together just like Tom and his father, and Tom's father and grandfather. Environmental sustainability is a priority throughout their operation.


Tom and Nate Huntley have deep roots in the land they call home. The father-son duo farm together—just like Tom and his father, and Tom’s father and grandfather.

Tom, 56, of Goldfield, and Nate, 34, who lives near Renwick, own Huntley Farms. They have two 4,400-head wean-to-finish sites and annually finish about 17,600 contract pigs, which are marketed by Smithfield Foods. They also grow 1,500 acres of corn and soybeans.

In addition, Tom recently sold his 50-head commercial cow/calf operation after 15 years.

Nate’s college stint took a backseat when his grandpa had to retire from farming. He returned home in 2011, but there weren’t enough crop acres to support him full time. He started selling seed.

Nate later suggested to Tom that they consider hog barns. They constructed their first barn in 2013, followed by another in 2018. Tom’s wife Dee has since transitioned from a full-time paraeducator to just substituting, allowing her to be an extra farmhand.

Environmental sustainability has become a cornerstone for the Huntleys. Initial efforts were merely cost-saving measures, but Nate has been a driving force in implementing various practices, including strip-till, no-till, cover crops, and low-disturbance manure application.

Nate even got involved with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a U.S. Department of Agriculture agency, and they currently are inputting information for the National Pork Board’s Pork Cares Farm Impact Reports, to map their sustainability progress.

The Huntleys are committed to industry involvement. Both are members of the Wright County Pork Producers. Nate is a voice for area contract growers through Smithfield’s Regional Advisory Council, and member of this year’s Iowa Pork Leadership Academy, organized by the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Beyond the farm, Tom and Nate are Boone Township trustees, and were previously part of the Wright Soil and Water Conservation District and trustees at United Methodist Church in Renwick. Tom is a board member for Boone Valley Electric in Renwick and chairman of the Renwick Rural Fire Association. Nate volunteers with the Renwick Fire Department and drives the ambulance, as well as coaches youth sports.

Tom and Dee belong to United Methodist Church and have two other children, Mikaela and Reid. Nate and his wife Olivia, a full-time schoolteacher, have two kids Kyrie, 6, and Koyer, 4. They attend the Lutheran church in Clarion.

Joe Kessenich — Le Mars, Plymouth County

During his 45-year career raising swine, Joe Kessenich has seen an evolution of farming practices. But family remains the foundation of his operation.


Some of Joe Kessenich’s earliest memories are with his dad in a farrowing house “seeing the miracle of life with the baby pigs” and cleaning out the 16 wooden pens.

“That was pretty special,” he recalls. “Grew up working with my dad and my grandpa.”

Farming processes have evolved since then, but family remains the foundation of Kessenich’s operation. While all of his kids have helped on the farm, he currently works with his daughter and son-in-law, Jill and Cole Oltmanns; son Kevin Kessenich; his brother and family; and his stepson, Kale Pearson, a junior in high school, who is part of a hog vaccination crew.

With hog sites in Plymouth and Cherokee counties, they custom feed for Midwest-based pork producers—plus have pigs custom-fed for them. In addition, they pump manure pits and run a dragline system to apply that manure as a crop fertilizer. Kessenich also grows corn and soybeans.

His 45-year career raising swine began in the late ‘70s when he was attending college. He bought sows from his dad and started farrowing. Neighbors let him use their old hog houses, and he finished the hogs outdoors. In 1981, he married his late wife Carol, and together, with their five children, they grew the operation.

In the ‘90s, he owned his hogs and had groups custom-fed by area farmers. But in 1997, he called it quits with farrowing and has since built several hog barns to custom feed. Today, he oversees 20,800 hog spaces from feed to finish.

Outside of farming, Kessenich has spent nearly three decades on the Plymouth County Pork Producers’ board of directors. He helped build Grandstand Pork, home of the popular pork chop in a glove at the Plymouth County Fair.

He has been active with various other organizations over the years, including All Saints Parish and Gehlen Catholic School, both in Le Mars; Farm Bureau; 4-H Club; Knights of Columbus; Le Mars Chamber Ag Committee; Life Skills Training Center, which assists adults with disabilities; Plymouth County Extension Council; Plymouth County Fair Board; and United Way.

Besides 17-year-old Pearson, who lives at home, Kessenich, 64, and his second wife Kathleen have a total of six grown children and 14 grandchildren in their blended family.

Aubrey Vorwald — Alta Vista, Chickasaw County

With absolutely no pig experience, Aubrey Vorwald has worked her way from breeding technician to barn manager at Reicks View Farms.


With no experience and a fear of being overrun by pigs, Aubrey Vorwald wasn’t sure she would last long with Reicks View Farms.

“I didn’t have any confidence in it at all,” she recalls. Vorwald had been working at a candle factory prior to having her son. While looking to go back to work a year later, friends told her about Reicks View’s family oriented environment. So she applied.

Vorwald was hired in 2014 as a breeding technician in a sow unit that was managed by one of her past softball coaches. But while a familiar face eased her nerves, she spent the first month still scared of moving pigs.

She stuck with the job, though, and in 2019 was offered a breeding department head position at a 2,500-head sow unit. A couple of years later, when her manager left, she stepped into her current role of overseeing 2,000 sows in the gestation barn and 442 farrowing crates.

Vorwald’s pride in managing her pigs and six employees is exceptional, according to Tim Sadler, who nominated her as a Master Pork Producer. “She views herself as an equal, which makes a profound effect on her coworkers.”

Today, Vorwald can’t imagine pigs not being part of her life, and has become a strong advocate for the industry. Among her favorite activities is visiting local classrooms as part of Reicks View’s FarmChat program. She lets students pet and snuggle with a piglet while telling them about her daily duties and how farmers keep their animals healthy and free of diseases.

At the Reicks View Ag Education Center at the Mighty Howard County Fair in Cresco, she looks forward to educating people about her work and the piglets in the farrowing room. She even takes a shift at the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s farrowing display at the Iowa State Fair.

In addition, she recruits her children and team to join her in representing Reicks View by handing out pork sticks during area parades, sorting canned goods at food pantries, and volunteering at concession stands for community sporting events.

She has gone through the Reicks View Farms Leadership Academy, which offers rising employees the opportunity to fine-tune their leadership skills and network with other employees. She also is a member of the Chickasaw County Pork Producers.

Vorwald, 31, and her fiance Travis Balk are parents to Tylor, 10, and Avery, 5.