MIT Gives Managers Staying Power

Pipestone System’s Management in Training (MIT) course prepares aspiring leaders for all aspects of barn management, according to human resources director Donna Hazelton. “It gets them ready for everything they will face on a day-to-day basis, from recognizing illness in the pigs to effectively training their staff,” she states.

The MIT course, taught by System management and legal counsel, is presented over the equivalent of one week in half-day sessions. Trainees are tested on all information presented and a score of 95% is required for passing.

Many MIT trainees are already gestation leads, farrowing leads, or assistant managers, and all participate by invitation. “It is an honor to be asked to be in this class,” says Donna. “From a company perspective, we invite those we believe are ready for it.”

The course covers all aspects of barn management including bio-security, animal health, animal welfare, human resources, legal, production, recordkeeping, ventilation, and safety.

MIT is an opportunity to network and establish relationships that will be valuable throughout the barn manager’s career. “We mix up seating so people from all different states sit together,” says Donna. “So if a barn manager has an issue, there are other people they’ve met in class that they can call for perspective.”

But MIT is not the only time these trainees see each other. As they go on to become barn managers, they attend quarterly meetings at which they share their accumulated knowledge and experiences with each other.

Much of the foundation for a system manager’s career is laid at MIT, according to Donna. If the longevity of our farm managers, production supervisor, and production directors is a measure of MIT’s value to the system, the course has been a shining success. Their combined tenure is as follows:

<5 years 24%
5-10 years 29%
11-15 years 38%
16-20 years 9%

“I will put our managers, knowledge-wise, up against anyone in the pork industry.”