If you want to find the boss in the Schillings’ state-of-the-art 5,200-sow hog facility near New Athens, keep your eye open for an energetic 31-year-old mother of two with a University of Illinois consumer and textile marketing degree who is speaking Spanish to the employees she manages. While husband Kyle Row commutes 35 miles each way to St. Louis for his off-the-farm job, Clare Schilling drives two miles to her family’s breed-to-wean pork farm, which weaned more than 130,000 pigs last year. Her brother Drew manages the crop production side of the enterprise called CD Bell, which is named after the six members of her family: Clare, Drew, Beth, Emilie, Ludger, and Lindsey. Clare and Drew recently broke ground in nearby Randolph County for a second pork facility which will house an additional 2,800 sows.
In Clare’s management role, she hires, trains, retains, and delegates the daily operation tasks to a team of 20 employees. She provides leadership in developing extensive biosecurity protocols for the farm to reduce exposures to viruses like PED (porcine epidemic diarrhea) and PRRS (porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome), which have cost the pork industry significantly. Clare also manages the relationships with the hog operation’s external team of consultants, vendors, and buyers.
Editor’s Note: Women have been serving critical roles on farms for centuries – in the barns, in the fields, in the homes, and in the farm office. At Farm Credit Illinois, we know firsthand how often it is actually a woman who pays the bills, keeps the record books, negotiates a purchase, or sits in the cab of a tractor on a farm. And we want to help others learn about today’s “Women in Agriculture” by introducing a few extraordinary females who are members of the extended FCI family.