Shareholder Spotlight: System Ownership Means Fewer Worries

Steve Vander Maten always had an interest in agriculture. When a door opened for him to start farming in 1985, he walked through it. Steve had just finished a course of studies in production agriculture at Jackson Vo-Tech when he had the opportunity to rent some land close to his parents’ farm, five miles east of Edgerton, MN. His dad, Stan, wanted to exit livestock, so Steve took over that part of his parents’ operation.

In 1984, the Vander Matens’ livestock business was a farrow-to-finish hog operation and feeder cattle. “I also started a herd of stock cows,” says Steve, who raised crops for feed on his newly rented land.

Then in 1997, Stan bought a share in Pipestone Management’s Great Plains sow barn. “Dad bought it as an investment for himself, but he also bought it to help me have a good source of pigs,” says Steve. In 1998, Steve quit farrowing and began growing and finishing the Isowean® feeder pigs he was getting through Pipestone Management. Somewhat later, Steve also expanded his feeder cattle operation.

Today, Steve and his family live on the farm where he grew up. His parents, Stan and Marlys, live in the town of Leota about three miles from the farm. Steve’s farming operation consists of 650 acres of crops and 45 head of stock cows. He finishes 400 head of feeder cattle each year and about 4,200 head of market hogs.

“The source of the pigs is one thing I don’t have to worry about,” says Steve of Pipestone Management. “I know they are genetically good and will grow well,” he adds, “and knowing when they are coming makes scheduling very easy.”

Steve also appreciates selling his pigs through Big Stone Marketing. “I don’t have to manage that part of the process either,” he says.

“Hal Schmidt has been very helpful to me,” says Steve of the Great Plains Family Farms board member who works with the Vander Matens. “If I have a health or scheduling issue with the Isoweans, he is very quick to correct it.” Steve says Hal is a wealth of information on any topic regarding hog production.” Big Stone Marketing is also a very big part of Steve’s relationship with Pipestone Management. “Christine, Melissa, and Brian do an excellent job with the marketing end of my hogs,” he states.

Editor’s Note: Read about Steve’s family.

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