By JoAnn Alumbaugh
Dave Klocke is always thinking. If it’s not about new products for the hog operation, it’s about the family and the future. Ben, 33, is involved in the pig and crop operation; Katie, 31, is the sales and marketing manager for PigEasy. Another daughter, Mary, 28, is a transport nurse and works in neo-natal intensive care; and youngest son, Ross, 26, just finished medical school and is beginning his residency.
For Dave’s wife, Karen, family comes first. She was happy but concerned when Ben and then Katie came back into the operation. “Nothing breaks up my family,” she says. “We all have to get along.”
Dave, Ben and Katie talk daily, but they don’t often have formal meetings as a group. On the flip side, they’re together at Dave and Karen’s frequently for Sunday brunch and sometimes for weekday lunch to catch on everyone’s activities.
“Even on Christmas Eve, we’re like, ‘Hey I have an idea for this,’ and we run down to the shop,” Karen says.
Ben says he works more on the backside in terms of PigEasy. His dad asks for his input, and he and the farm staff are involved in modifications for products.
“I was able to start some of the development with PigEasy because Ben came back,” Klocke says. “It allowed me the time to do that. Secondly, it was kind of a way for me to get out of his way. There’s a dual benefit in that respect.”
“It’s hard for some farmers to let go of their responsibilities or allow their sons or daughters to take over certain aspects, but I don’t see that at all with Dad,” Katie says. “When I would do harvest visits [in her previous job] and sit in the combine and ride with producers, a lot of times it was the dad or grandpa driving the combine. On our farm, Ben handles the combine 99.9% of the time.”
“If somebody can do it better than I can, I’m happy to get out of the way,” Dave says. However, he’s not planning to slow down anytime soon.
“These are exciting times to be a producer, because we’re just seeing those upper limits of what’s possible. We see the exciting work geneticists have done and as a producer, I want to know how to tap that,” Dave says. “The only way technology is a plus is when it’s reliable and simple, and you can maximize it. That potential makes me excited.”
Read the full story, The Inventor: Dave Klocke Makes Pork Production More Efficient.