The Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC) at Iowa State University was presented with the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s first President’s Award this week. The award recognizes all employees at IPIC for their work and dedication to helping Iowa’s pig farmers manage through so many extraordinary challenges to the industry in 2020.
When pork processing plants closed or slowed down from March through May of 2020, many Iowa farmers were faced with decisions on how to continue caring for pigs that were ready to enter the food chain. The solutions lay in many areas of expertise.
“The team that works for IPIC assisted us with economic analysis, nutritional changes to slow hog growth when we had a breakdown in the food supply chain, suggestions for animal care during those times when farmers had to hold pigs longer than expected, while employees even provided information and resources outside of the pork industry,” said Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) past president Mike Paustian of Walcott.
Those other services included the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) providing expertise to the University of Iowa to increase the numbers of COVID-19 tests that could be run daily. The VDL had established procedures nearly a decade before to process substantially more tests of that type in a limited time period.
The IPIC is a coordinated effort of interdisciplinary programs with ISU’s Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Engineering and Veterinary Medicine that provides services and information to pig farmers in Iowa and many other states. IPIC also focuses its efforts in programs that are integral and complementary to work by ISU Extension and Outreach.
“The truly remarkable thing is how fast this team reacted to all the challenges,” Paustian said. “Universities are not typically noted for speed, but IPIC responded to our needs and requests faster than ISU can score touchdowns!”
IPPA recognized that there were many Iowa people, businesses and organizations that stepped up in 2020 to help Iowa pig farmers address challenges and mitigate especially negative circumstances. “Our board of directors supported the creation of this special IPPA President’s Award to recognize IPIC for their work,” Paustian said.