A century-old family business in Warren County earned the 2020 Master Seedstock Producer Award for the current patriarch. Rod Fee of Ackworth, who runs Fee Farms Show Pigs with his son, Eric, was presented the 2020 Master Seedstock Award by the Iowa Purebred Swine Council (IPSC) during the Iowa Pork Congress awards banquet held in Des Moines.
The award recognizes outstanding seedstock producers who exemplify integrity, leadership and success in the production and promotion of the purebred swine industry. Fee said his family developed the business from a small spotted pig that was given to his parents as a wedding gift in 1919. From that point, the family business sold many pigs around the country and the world.
“Studying the genetics and pedigree and phenotypic characteristics, and trying to put those together for the next best generation is a huge challenge, and certainly not an easy one,” Fee said.
A pig from Fee Farms Show Pigs was the Spotted Swine Hog College Row representative at the 2019 National Barrow Show in Austin, Minn. He was just one of 12 litter mates that were sold by the Fees as show pigs, and 11 won trophies or banners in show rings around the country.
Fee actively pushed for improving meat and meat quality from pigs in the 1970s. During that time, a 3.5-inch loin eye was standard, and he qualified one litter that produced 7.11-inch loin eyes.
Fee served in many roles, including a term as the vice president of the National Spotted Record Association. In 2020, the National Spotted Swine Board presented him with a Hall of Fame award for his lifetime of work.
The Iowa Purebred Swine Council has sponsored the Master Seedstock Award since 1958 and has selected one Master Seedstock Award recipient each year since then. Its purpose is to recognize significant contributions to the Iowa and national purebred industries and for evidence of genetic improvements within their selected breeds for the benefit of Iowa, the nation and, in many cases, internationally.