Donnie Bloes (pronounced Blaze) sells feed and finishes pigs. He and his dad Jerry own B&B Farm Store, a retail business and feed mill in Jesup, Iowa, just east of Waterloo. Jerry has worked in this business for 50 years, starting right out of high school. He gradually bought into the business until it was his. Donnie joined B&B after graduating from Hawkeye Community College in 1991. Father and son both own shares in sow barns managed by the Pipestone System.
Jerry and Donnie Bloes
In 1973, with the help of Purina Mills, Jerry organized one of the first shareholder-owned sow units in the area. That unit was sold several years later, but in 1994, Jerry and Donnie along with John Slattery, organized another sow unit with their customers and other area producers. Named “Wapsi Pig,” that 1,200-sow unit produced feeders for the Bloeses and other shareholders to take home and finish. Wapsi Pig is still operating today under Pipestone System management. Then came “Grassland,” a 2,800-sow unit and “Skyline,” a 5,600-sow unit, all built by Pipestone System. All Grassland shareholders are local; however, Skyline has some shareholders from other parts of Iowa and from Minnesota.
“We helped organize these units, and Jerry and I own shares in all three,” says Donnie, who finishes the pigs they take out of those sow barns.
Obviously, these system-owned sow units have helped grow the feed business of the B&B Farm Store, but they have also given area producers (including the Bloeses) a single continuous source of quality, healthy pigs. “With these system-managed barns, we know the genetics and we know when the pigs are coming,” says Donnie, adding, “That’s so important to providing the market with a consistent finished product.”
Donnie expresses great satisfaction with Pipestone System and its employees. “It’s definitely a pleasure to work with them,” he states. “They are professional and very well-rounded in all aspects of production and finance.”
“It’s definitely a strong asset to have all of our participating sow units under system management,” Donnie concludes.
A Grill Master at Heart
Besides milling feed and finishing hogs, Donnie Bloes is an excellent cook. “We sell Traeger grills in our retail store, and we do a lot of grilling to promote our pork product,” he explains. Unnamed sources tell us Donnie also makes a “to die for” peach cobbler on the grill as well as Bacon Explosion. We asked him to share his favorite pork recipe. Here it is.