A champion is gone

A champion is gone

By Dr. John Mabry, professor of Animal Science, Iowa State University
Posted April 16, 2014

Dr. James McKean

The pork industry lost a great friend and the Iowa Pork Industry Center lost a great champion with the sudden passing of Dr. James McKean.

Dr. McKean was one of the “founders” of IPIC, shepherding the pork industry’s need for unbiased, science-based information through the portals of process at Iowa State University and the Iowa Legislature to the legislation that formed what the Iowa Pork Industry Center is today. He served as associate director (with a stint as interim director) from when the center began in 1994 until his death late last week.

Dr. McKean’s contributions to the pork industry also are evident from his work at the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine over a 40-plus-year career. He was the driving force behind the ISU-CVM Swine Disease Conference, and his contributions toward disease eradication programs are known throughout the pork industry. As ISU Extension swine veterinarian, he worked with Extension professionals at all levels, from county staff to field staff to state staff, to strengthen the industry through animal health improvement programs.

His work with swine commodity groups, such as the Iowa Pork Producers Association and the National Pork Board, continues to have lasting positive impacts for the pork industry. In addition to leading the way toward disease eradication, Dr. McKean has been a true leader in the development and implementation of quality assurance systems for the pork industry. The current PQA Plus® and TQA® programs bear his stamp of a science-based, producer-implemented approach to quality assurance systems.

Over his career, Dr. McKean took every opportunity to work with all segments of the pork industry. He also was a tireless supporter of Iowa pork producers. Thanks to his leadership, the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s Master Pork Producer program (a program designed to recognize Iowa pork producers with programs of excellence) has recognized and featured more than two generations of pork producers.

The effects of Dr. McKean’s efforts and successful programs have been recognized in some of the many ways in which he was honored. He was recognized as an Honorary Master Pork Producer by IPPA, Extension Veterinarian of the Year by the Association of Extension Veterinarians, the Howard Dunne Memorial Award winner by the AASV, and he was named a Master in Pork Production by National Hog Farmer.

Dr. Jim McKean will truly be missed, but his contributions toward successful pork production will continue for all.