AMES, Iowa -- For some, college graduation means the end of being on campus amidst faculty, staff and fellow students. For Jay Lampe, college graduation led to a private industry job that led him back to Iowa State University (ISU) as an employee, and he couldn’t be happier. On Jan. 25, he began work as swine farms manager overseeing the ISU swine teaching, nutrition and research farms.
“The opportunity to get back to work with students was the key reason I was interested in this job,” Lampe said. “My focus is to have good students involved in these farms, just as I was.”
Lampe earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in animal science at ISU, and worked on most of the ISU animal science department’s farms. He was a lab instructor as a grad student and he said he enjoys being around people who are enthusiastic about learning.
In his professional career at Swine Graphics, he had both research and production responsibilities. His research work included collaborative efforts with ISU College of Veterinary Medicine and the USDA-ARS office on campus. As production manager, he oversaw half of the company's wean to finish pig system and at any one time was responsible for 130,000 head of pigs.
“During the past two years, I worked in the grow-finish side of the business, which will help me in streamlining the ISU farms to potentially create less waste,” he said. “Also during that time of financial downturn, the commercial industry learned to become creative in order to stay in business. I expect that experience to help me deal with budget cuts and decreased funding that the university is facing.”
His student work experience has given him a real leg up as swine farms manager, especially considering his new position replaces three individual swine farm management positions.
“It’s been a huge benefit to me to be familiar with the farms. Otherwise I’d be totally lost trying to keep up with the farms themselves and the researchers and their work,” Lampe said. “Following in the footsteps of those who were here for such a long time is definitely inspiring and reassuring at the same time. In times of doubt, it helps me remember that it’s worth struggling through the tough times in order to see the good times.”
Although he has definite goals (the farms will be financially more sound and production will be representative of commercial industry), Lampe said he remains firmly committed to strong traditions such as showing truckloads at the National Barrow Show. And, he said, he expects to continue having the farms open to visitors from within and outside of the university, such as livestock judging teams, elementary schools and international visitors.