Dr. Cara Haden is an associate swine veterinarian with Pipestone Veterinary Services, overseeing the health and well-being of about 15,000 sows within Pipestone Management, plus 20,000-some sows for independent farmers. She spends the rest of her time with about a half million grow-finish pigs. Her clients live in Iowa and surrounding states.
Haden is involved in all stages of pig health at Pipestone. However, she heavily focuses on helping clients with on-farm employee training, preparations for animal care audits, and Pork Quality Assurance® Plus and Transport Quality Assurance certifications. She also assists producers with biosecurity and plans for potential foreign animal disease outbreaks. In addition, she leads the Pipestone Veterinary Services committee on Standards of Practice, which concentrates on training and development of its vets.
Another of Haden’s key areas relates to the Pipestone Antibiotic Resistance Tracker. The program provides farmers with a web-based tool for responsible antibiotic use. Throughout the year, Haden collects samples from clients to study antimicrobial resistance patterns in today’s pig populations.
Growing up on a farrow-to-finish farm in Michigan, Haden is passionate about telling the industry’s story. About a year and a half ago, she collaborated with Pipestone’s marketing department to utilize popular social media apps—namely, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok—to educate the public about pig farming. She now shares up to four videos weekly on her “Cara Haden Pig Vet” channels. The short recordings offer basic lessons on pig care and how farmers advocate for a safe and healthy food supply. On TikTok alone, she has nearly 265,000 followers.
Besides that, she sits on the National Pork Board’s Real Pork Barriers task force, which aims to understand consumers’ perceptions of pork production.
Haden, 33, attended Iowa State University in Ames, where she earned a bachelor’s in animal science in 2010, and a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 2014.
Outside of work, Haden is a member of the Buchanan County Pork Producers; coaches T-ball; and is active with her church. Her husband, Michael, is an FFA adviser with the Independence Community School District, and Haden volunteers at events, presents at career fairs, and is a guest lecturer there.
The Hadens have four kids: Flynn, 6, Kennedy, 4, Ford, 2, and Wells, 1 month.