Brentwood Colony | Focusing on Improvement

Brentwood Colony of Faulkton, South Dakota, has placed a specific focus on profitability in business. The pig entity of Brentwood Colony, ProPork, takes a community perspective, with a swine business mentality. This allows the team to track accurate financial information & remain a profitable business.

ProPork is a farrow-to-finish operation, raising 3,200 sows in two barns on-site. Pigs are finished off-site, finshing 80,000-85,000 per year.

The Hutterian Brethren is a community of family focused individuals who live and work on the Hutterite colony. The communal lifestyle finds its roots in the biblical teachings of Christ and the Apostles.

“In my mind, the value of a colony is the trust of others in an environment of those who care for each other,” said Nathan, hog boss. “On the colony, we try to raise kids right. We have our own school, provide a roof over our head, and we have meals together.”

In addition to ProPork, the pig business, Brentwood Colony operates a grain farming operation and on-site feed mill, and has a manufacturing business, building houses, closets, and cabinets.

Nathan started managing the East Sow barn in 2000 and took over management of the South Sow barn in 2011. “I enjoy the business aspect of pig farming,” Nathan said. “My mind is always going, constantly looking for opportunities to improve. If something doesn’t work, then something is missing.”

ProPork started working with the PIPESTONE team in 2017. “PIPESTONE has made it possible for us to farm with the current model we have today,” Nathan said. “This includes the need to take raising pigs seriously and using a science-first mindset.” The team at PIPESTONE assisted ProPork in raising pigs off-site, renting barns. “PIPESTONE is a boots-on-the-ground company that cares about my success, and they are always transparent and honest.” Nathan added.

The team at ProPork has placed a primary focuses on three areas: teamwork, increased communication, and data. Nathan believes “a positive attitude, with trust in people and the Lord is key.” Dr. Scott VanderPoel, Pipestone Veterinarian working with ProPork, believes “Nathan has a teamwork mentality, focusing on young growth.

Noticing a disconnect between staff members, Nathan has been grounding his own coffee and hosting daily meetings over coffee. “Hosting these meetings has helped build a team environment between the staff at both sow farms, as well as improve communication, Nathan said.” In addition to increased communication, Nathan and team have embraced improvement, constantly looking for ways to improve.

“I started looking at the numbers, learning how to improve,” Nathan said. “Focusing on production and health, the team has focused their efforts on dollars per pound of gain, medication host per head, and margin over feed cost.” To track this, ProPork utilizes MetaFarms through Pipestone Business’ FarmStats service offering, to capture accurate data on-farm and benchmarked across like-minded producers.

“The goal is never ending,” Nathan said. “Always working on improving. In 10 years, I want to look back and see how successful we have been for the 20+ years before that.”