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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sleezer Pork operation a family business

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Family operation - The Sleezer family, owner-operators of Sleezer Select Stock and Sleezer Fertility Center. From left to right - Dana, Nicky, Butch, Bonnie, Derrick. Photo contributed.
Dale "Butch" Sleezer of Aurelia has been a successful pork producer for many years. In the 1990s, his business became two businesses, thanks in large part to his sons, Derrick and Dana, and Dana's wife Nicky.

Sleezer, a 1963 graduate of Aurelia High School, had always had the able assistance of his wife Bonnie, also an Aurelia grad, and their sons helped out when they were in school, too.

Both Derrick and Dana went off to college, studied, played some football (Dana) and golf (Derrick), and graduated, then both young men returned to work in the "family business," and that's when things took off.

All By Myself - Boars are kept in isolation in this building for 60 days before they are moved to the Stud Barn. Photo contributed.
In the mid-1990s, Derrick reportedly discussed the idea with his dad of having semen from the quality boars on the Sleezer farm transported to other area pork producers to be inseminated into those producers' sows, for the purpose of producing better quality animals and thus, better quality pork.

With that idea, the Sleezer Fertlity Center, located at 129 520th Street, north of Aurelia, came into being in 1997. The semen from the quality boars in the Sleezer Select Stock herd is collected as soon as possible, by means of the latest in collection technologies, then delivery vehicles deliver the product to Sleezer's clients throughout Northwest Iowa. The drivers' schedule is arranged by Nicky and the drivers, many of whom are former farmers, pick up their "cargo" at an early hour and hit the road, six days a week.

Sleezer Fertility Center constantly strives to find the highest quality maternal genetics available, and are currently partnered with Whiteshire-Hamroc as their supplier of Landrace and Yorkshire breeds. Sleezer Fertility Center also maintains Hampshire and Nebraska Index Line animals. Sleezer Fertility Center currently has the facilities to house 136 boars.

The laboratory - Pneumatic tubes send the semen from the stud barn to this building, which houses the Sleezer Fertility Center's laboratory, where the product's quality is ensured. Photo submitted.
To ensure that they are constantly providing their clients with the latest available boar semen, Sleezer's genetic partners are continually updating our boar herd, and Sleezer receives the latest in boar genetics.

Because they do not own the boars themselves, Sleezer Fertility Center feels it can make objective decisions regarding the status of each individual boar. They consider optimal removal occurring less than 18 months in service.

SFC values their partners' objectives to build a high-health pig which encompasses a combination of significant economic traits and produces a product desired by consumers.

In the la-bor-a-tory - The equipment in the Sleezer Fertility Center Lab is continually maintained in order to provide their clients with the highest quality semen. Photo contributed.
Sleezer Fertility Center requires a 60 day isolation period for each of their boars and while in isolation, each animal is bled 3 times, to make sure they pass SFC's strict health protocol.

Semen is carried from the stud barn to the laboratory through the use of a pneumatic tube. Sleezer Fertility Center employs the newest technology in order to bring their clients the freshest, most viable, high quality boar semen. The equipment in the Sleezer Fertility Center Lab is continually maintained, in order to provide clients with the highest quality semen.

Though hard workers, all of the Sleezers have other interests as well. Derrick formerly served as the girls' golf coach at Washington High School, is now the women's golf coach at Buena Vista University, and often competes in area tournaments himself. Butch and Bonnie are active in a variety of school, church and community organizations and activities and are also members of the Checkers Bike (as in bicycle) Club, and enjoy riding on RAGBRAI and various other bike rides on weekends.

They are all also, of course, heavily involved with the Cherokee County and Iowa Pork Producers and Dana, especially, grills a mean piece of pork, topped by his special secret sauce.

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