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  • Carol Distel

Herbruck's Poultry Ranch: Good Eggs and Even Better People

Poultry workers standing in front of a Herbruck's sign

Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch lies in the heart of West Michigan’s agricultural landscape. While renowned for delivering top-quality eggs, the essence of Herbruck's goes beyond egg production — they foster an environment that places employees at the forefront of their mission.

Established in 1958, they now employ over 1200 people across farms in Michigan, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Being a large operation hasn’t changed Herbruck’s family and community focus. According to Stephanie Kempa, Chief Human Resources Officer, "Our values have always centered around doing right by the environment, our team, and our community."

The dedication to a thriving environment for both hens and people includes training all employees for their high-tech barn environment. “With a cage free system, there are multiple pieces of equipment to learn and maintain. From conveyer belts to weighing and grading equipment, much of the work has been automated, which enhances quality of life for hens and employees. We want every day to be the best day for everyone on the farms,” Ryan Struck-Vander Haak, human resource manager shared.

Herbruck's employees handling eggs

With that level of technology in place, Herbruck's recognized the need to empower

employees to learn and advance within the organization. Ryan underscored, "We're strong believers in investing in our team's future. Apprenticeships are the key to unlocking new opportunities and a highly skilled workforce.”

Herbruck’s managers identify employees who demonstrate mechanical aptitude or exceptional troubleshooting skills to be evaluated for the apprenticeship program. “Apprenticeships provide a seamless blend of knowledge gained in class at Montcalm Community College and practical skills that they put to immediate use on our farms. Apprentices not only understand the 'how' but also the 'why' behind their actions, creating a more engaged and informed workforce.”

Communication is vital in any organization, and Herbruck's ensures their employees feel heard. "We have a diverse team, and we make every effort to communicate in their first language," explains Ryan Struck-Vander Haak. They translate all employee materials into Spanish and Nepali, and train managers in second language skills. “Helping employees learn English as a second language and helping managers learn Spanish bridges the communication gap,” Ryan shared.

Herbruck's employee wearing a shirt that says "I love my job"

Herbruck’s investment in employees doesn’t stop with their training programs. "We understand the importance of family, which is why we offer no-cost health insurance for our team members. We have an on-site wellness center for employees and their family members," Stephanie told us.

Herbruck’s is also a member of West Michigan Works!’ Retention Solutions Network (RSN), which offers customized, timely, in-person support and training to keep employees on the job and businesses thriving. “RSN helps employees tackle life challenges. Our team can meet with the RSN staff on site and remove whatever barrier to work they are facing. It helps them know we care about them as a person first,” Stephanie explained.

As Herbruck's Poultry Ranch continues to thrive, their dedication to their team and community remains unwavering. They prove that being a good neighbor and a great employer go hand in hand, demonstrating that success is about what you produce and the people who make it happen. Stephanie sums it up best, "We're more than an egg producer; we're a community that values growth, sustainability, and the people who make it all possible."


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