Since joining the Pipestone System two years ago, Robin Gilbertson has learned a lot about the swine industry and gained a new appreciation for pork producers and their commitment to caring for their pigs. Robin started at the company in July 2014 as a swine health communication coordinator working with multiple teams and projects.
One of her roles is to work with Pipestone Director of Health Dr. Joel Nerem and 17 swine veterinarians in Pipestone, Minnesota; Ottumwa, Iowa; and Independence, Iowa. She coordinates meetings and communications, provides materials and information, and serves as a resource person for the veterinarians. She also provides support to the Biosecurity team. Robin is also a coordinator for Pipestone Applied Research. Led by Director of Research Dr. Scott Dee, Pipestone Applied Research conducts a number of research programs to evaluate new products and management practices, so Pipestone can provide recommendations to internal veterinarians and shareholders. Robin helps manage research programs, coordinate with clients, and works with the teams to compile and share results.
Robin grew up in Slayton, Minnesota. She earned a degree in hotel, restaurant and institutional management from the University of Minnesota that held classes at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. Robin and her husband, live on a farm near Lake Wilson, Minnesota, with their six year old twins. Brian farms and raises pigs, so Robin was familiar with pork production, but never worked in the agricultural field. She had friends and family who worked at Pipestone, so had a good impression of the company before starting the job.“This was a whole new challenge for me. It is still in the food industry, just at a different point of the food chain where I’d never worked before,” she said.
During her first week at Pipestone, Robin worked in a sow barn so she could understand the basics of raising pigs and how the Pipestone vets and employees cared for sows and pigs. She continues to go out to barns with vets or biosecurity team members on a quarterly basis. “It was eye opening to see how much care is provided and how strict policies are for animal care, welfare, and biosecurity are enforced,” she said. “I have been very impressed with all the employees. It is hard work, and they do a good job and take a lot of pride in their work.”
Robin enjoys the support that she has received from co-workers at Pipestone and that she was able to begin contributing to the organization immediately. With two young children at home, she also appreciates the flexibility and commitment to families at Pipestone System. “Everyone understands that families are our top priority,” she said.
After almost a two years in a new industry, she is excited about the opportunities ahead. “I never thought that I would be working in the agriculture industry; however after being here for two year, I wish I would have started out in agriculture or taken more ag-related courses in college,” she said.