2017: Compart Family
Rooted in family tradition, attentiveness to customer needs and objective data, Dean and Kaye Compart, Jim and Diana Compart, Chris and Rochelle Compart along with their parents Bonnie and the late Richard Compart have built a business that creates opportunity for family farmers to remain independent and raise high quality pork for restaurants, retailers and individuals across the United States.
In 1949 Richard Compart started a 4-H project that consisted of two duroc gilts and a boar. Little did he know, the same project that would start an extremely successful family business would also enable him to meet his wife, Bonnie, at the Minnesota State Fair.
The couple was married in 1955 and after two years of military service, combined their passion for purebred swine genetics to start selling breeding stock through on-farm production sales. Since its inception, the Compart program has been built around performance testing.
In fact, the Compart family was the first breeders in Minnesota to start an on-farm performance testing program and was very involved in the Minnesota Swine Evaluation Station in New Ulm, MN. In an effort to be the go-to source for farmer’s maternal and terminal genetic needs the Compart family introduced Hampshire, Yorkshire and Landrace genetics into the business.
In their peak, the Compart family was selling 1800 boars annually. In total they hosted 97 production sales with the final sale taking place in 1998. Though the on-farm production sales ended in the late nineties, Comparts continue to be in the purebred breeding stock, F1 gilt and semen business to this day.
One of the greatest fears for purebred seedstock producers in the late nineties was Pseudorabies. On January 28, 1987, the Compart Family received the news they had feared, their 400 head sow farm had contracted Pseudorabies resulting in immediate quarantine and the inability sell breeding stock.
“At the time it was devastating,” said Dean Compart. “We knew we needed to be resilient and adapt.”
In 1987, the Compart Family built two Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) farms. The addition of the SPF farms allowed them to preserve their genetics through cesarean derived piglets that were Pseudorabies free. This opened new doors for customers who desired high-health pigs.
In the early nineties, the National Pork Producers Council administered the National Genetic Evaluation program in which purebred genetics were evaluated on their performance, meat quality and overall eating experience. The Compart family supplied 80 percent of the Duroc genetics evaluated in the program. Recognizing they had something special, the National Genetic Evaluation program proved to be a catalyst for the development of the Compart Family Farms branded meat program which was launched in 2002.
Driven by their desire to have objective performance data and the drive to deliver the highest quality pork possible, the Compart Family built a nursery and finisher research facility. The facility was designed to help Comparts understand the nutritional requirements of their genetic lines.
“For us, it isn’t about lowest cost production,” said Jim Compart,. “The superior quality of Premium Compart Duroc Pork is the result of carefully managed breeding and a proprietary nutritional program.”
Today, Compart Family Farms harvests 1,800 head per week for their branded meat program and their meat can be found in white table cloth restaurants across the United States.
“We have always wanted people to want our product not just take our product,” said Jim Compart.
At a time where consumers are increasingly curious about where their food comes from, Comparts feel they were ahead of the curve sharing the story of their family farm.
“We are proud of the product that we raise,” said Chris Compart. “We are fortunate to be able to work with family and provide other families with the opportunity to be successful as well.”
Comparts success and diversification has created opportunity for Kyle, Robbie and Dan Compart, the third generation of the Compart Family, to join the family business.
Being recognized as the 2017 Family of the Year is seen as a great honor for the Compart Family.
“Being on the forefront can sometimes result in critics,” said Dean Compart. “It takes a family to make the business successful. It is an honor to be recognized as a family for the work that we have done.”
Comparts have found success in managing everyone’s strengths empowering, them to find their niche and do purposeful, rewarding work.
Service to the community, especially youth organizations like 4-H, is very important the Comparts. They see how these organizations have allowed their family to cultivate relationships and teach life lessons like sportsmanship, integrity and the importance of a strong work ethic.
The Compart Family has persevered through adversity and guided by their passion, foresight and family values have thrived.
“We have believed in the vision for our business since day one.” said the Comparts, “We are incredibly proud of the opportunities we have provided and the brand that we have built.”