Meet Our Authors – Swine Performance Blog

BrownNate Brown is the swine sales manager for Vita Plus and has been involved in the feed industry for more than 20 years.  He received his bachelor of science from St. John’s University in 1991.  His area of interest is nutrition and growth and its influence on the profits made for the producer.  Brown has served as an executive board member for the Minnesota Pork Producers Association, a board member for the Martin County Pork Producers Association, and a Minnesota Pork Congress committee member.  He lives in Minnesota with his wife, Sarah, and has four children: Hank, Ben, Zach, and Gabby.

Dave Chamberlin is a Vita Plus swine technical sales manager.  He attended Michigan State University and received a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a master’s degree in monogastric nutrition in 2017.  He has experience working on a 5,000-sow farrow-to-finish farm, overseeing all farrowing management, as well as on a 700-sow farrow-to-finish unit as a farrowing manager.  Chamberlin also previously worked in swine nutrition formulating rations, coordinating ingredient orders, overseeing farrowing farm management and production, and performing farm trials related to nutrition, breeding, and management.  Chamberlin is also on the Michigan Creativity Association Board of Directors, an organization that sponsors creative problem-solving in Michigan youth to help them learn the skills needed to succeed in school, their careers and beyond.

Jim Garrison is an account manager with the Vita Plus swine team.  He earned his degree from Mankato State University and has been involved in the agriculture and feed industry for more than 25 years.  He started his work with Vita Plus in 1996 and since that time he has worked exclusively with swine.  Garrison’s other interests include outdoor activities, such as boating, camping, fishing and upland game hunting.  He lives in Minnesota with his wife, Joni, and has three children: Chelsea, Mara and Joshua.

Al Gunderson served as the Vita Plus vice president of sales and marketing prior to his retirement in 2021.  He served as the general sales manager since 1987 and added purchasing to his responsibilities in 1999.  Gunderson first came to Vita Plus in 1979 as the swine product manager after he earned a bachelor’s degree in meat and animal sciences and master’s degree in ag business management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He is a member of the American Registry of Professional Animal Sciences (ARPAS) and the American Society of Animal Sciences (ASAS).  Gunderson served as chair of the board of directors of the American Feed Industry Association and chairman of the board of trustees for the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER).

Todd Herrig is a Vita Plus district sales and account manager.  He earned his sales and marketing degree from Iowa Central Community College.  Herrig has been involved in agriculture most of his life and worked on a hog farm throughout high school and college.  He worked for a private feed dealership for five years before becoming a feed department manager for a large co-op in western Iowa.  Herrig is a member of the Clay County and Iowa Pork Producer Associations, along with being involved with the local 4-H and FFA.  He lives in Iowa with his wife, Tonya, and three children Bailey, Presley and Trey.  In his spare time, Herrig attends his kids’ school events and enjoys the outdoors.

Swine pageDr. Leah Kellesvig is a Vita Plus swine technical sales and support specialist.  She earned her bachelor's degree in animal science from Iowa State University.  She continued there to earn her master's degree in animal physiology, studying on-farm factors affecting market hog transport losses.  She then went on to the University of Illinois to earn her Ph.D. in animal sciences.  While in school, Kellesvig was involved with numerous research projects, teaching experiences, internships, and international travel.  Specifically, she conducted applied research in swine genetics, health, management and reproduction with Dr. Mike Ellis.  Her Ph.D. project evaluated the effect of timing of OvuGel® administration on reproductive performance in gilts synchronized for estrus.

Jaron Lewton is a Vita Plus swine technical sales specialist. He was raised on his family’s hobby farm in LaGrange, Indiana, and attended Huntington University to receive his bachelor’s degree in agribusiness. During this time, he gained experience in animal husbandry as a farm hand in Laos, as well as greater knowledge of the feed industry through an internship with an egg production farm, where he specialized in nutrition and feed manufacturing. Lewton then joined a management team of a 1,500-sow operation in northern Indiana before attending Michigan State University to receive his master’s degree in swine nutrition. His thesis focused on utilizing feed additives in nursery pig diets.

RozeboomGarrett Rozeboom grew up raising animals for 4-H on a small farm in Michigan.  Rozeboom attended Southwest Minnesota State University before transferring to the University of Minnesota where he majored in animal science.  After completing his undergraduate degree, Rozeboom earned his master’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan.  He soon began working for an independent nutrition consulting group and spent five years in Canada, dividing his time between Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, before joining Vita Plus in December 2016.

James Thompson is a Vita Plus swine sales specialist, working with pork producers in Indiana and Michigan.  He attended Joliet Junior College in Illinois to earn his associate's degree in agriculture production and management.  He went on to earn his bachelor's degree in animal science at Western Illinois University, graduating in 2008.  For about three years, he worked as an instructor and livestock judging coach at Fort Scott Community College.  In this position, he taught nutrition, feeds and feeding, and production classes in addition to serving as a farm manager at the cattle, sheep, and hog teaching units.  Most recently, he worked as a junior buyer for a pork processing plant in Indiana.  Thompson also owns and manages a club lamb and pig merchandising business, focusing on showring success.

Dr. Michaela Trudeau joined Vita Plus as a swine nutritionist in October 2020. She grew up in Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota to receive her bachelor’s degree in animal science with honors. Trudeau continued her education at the University of Minnesota and received a master’s degree in animal science. Her master’s thesis focused on the persistence of porcine coronaviruses in feed and feed ingredients. In December 2020, Trudeau received her Ph.D. in animal science at the University of Minnesota, where her research focused on understanding the mechanisms of growth responses to various antibiotic alternatives in nursery pigs.